Understanding attitudes, concerns, and health behaviors of patients with inflammatory bowel disease during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Jun;36(6):1550-1555. doi: 10.1111/jgh.15299. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Thomas M Goodsall 1 2, Sangwoo Han 1, Robert V Bryant 1 2


Author information

  • 1IBD Service, Department of Gastroenterology, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
  • 2Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.


Background and aim: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a rapid shift in care delivery models for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); however, little is known about patient perceptions during this period. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the attitudes, concerns, and health behavior of IBD patients during COVID-19.

Methods: An online survey was sent to patients from a tertiary IBD Service. The survey included demographic information and questions about the impact of COVID-19, levels of concern caused by COVID-19, perceived risk of IBD medications, medication cessation, and care delivery preferences.

Results: Of 97 respondents (39%), 95 (98%) reported concern about the impact of COVID-19 on their health, and 43% felt their risk of contracting COVID-19 was above average; 62% reported concern about medication-induced COVID-19 risk, and 11% stopped medications because of COVID-19. Patients considered all medications to increase the risk of COVID-19 susceptibility and severity; 45% preferred telehealth while 16% preferred face-to-face clinic reviews. Preference for IBD monitoring tools in decreasing order was blood testing, stool collection, gastrointestinal ultrasound, magnetic resonance enterography, and then colonoscopy.

Conclusions: Patients with IBD are demonstrated to experience concern related to their diagnosis and medications. The insights provided by the survey are informative for a possible "second-wave" of COVID-19 and routine care, including acceptance of telemedicine, preference for non-invasive investigations, and a need for dissemination of information and education.

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