INTRODUCTION AND HYPOTHESIS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, guidance was issued in the United Kingdom advising a delay in routine pessary reviews. The impact of this has not been fully explored. The null hypothesis for this study is that delayed routine pessary reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic did not result in a statistically significant increase in complication rate.
METHODS: A retrospective comparative cohort study was conducted in NHS Tayside, Scotland, involving 150 patients pre-pandemic and 150 patients during the COVID-19 pandemic (before exclusions). Their notes were reviewed identifying age, care provider, pessary type, length of pessary usage, review date, time elapsed since the previous review, bleeding/infection/ulceration, removal issues, pessary replacement and outcome. Patients excluded were those with no pessary in situ at review, reviews at ≤4 months and >8 months (pre-pandemic) and reviews at ≤8 months (COVID-19 pandemic).
RESULTS: The pre-pandemic group (n=106) had average review times of 10.1,6.2 and 6.2 months for cubes, rings and all others. Overall rates of bleeding/infection/ulceration; reported removal issues; and pessary subsequently not replaced were 9.4%, 11.3% and 5.7% respectively. The COVID-19 pandemic group (n=125) had average review times of 14.7, 10.8 and 11.4 months for cubes, rings and all others. Overall rates of bleeding/infection/ulceration; reported removal issues; and pessary subsequently not replaced were 21.6%, 16.0%, and 12.0% respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, there was a significant increase in rates of bleeding/ulceration/infection (p=0.01). When individual pessaries were considered, this only remained true for rings (p=0.02). Our data would suggest that routine ring pessary reviews should not be extended beyond 6 months or risk bleeding/ulceration/infection.
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McNeill, E., Lucocq, J., Brown, K. & Kay, V. 2022, 'The impact on complication rates of delayed routine pessary reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic', International Urogynecology Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-022-05333-z