A Systematic Review on Guidelines and Recommendations for Urology Standard of Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic



      The first case of the new coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2), was identified in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Since then, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak was reclassified as a pandemic, and health systems around the world have faced an unprecedented challenge.


      To summarize guidelines and recommendations on the urology standard of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Evidence acquisition

      Guidelines and recommendations published between November 2019 and April 17, 2020 were retrieved using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL. This was supplemented by searching the web pages of international urology societies. Our inclusion criteria were guidelines, recommendations, or best practice statements by international urology organizations and reference centers about urological care in different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement. Of 366 titles identified, 15 guidelines met our criteria.

      Evidence synthesis

      Of the 15 guidelines, 14 addressed emergency situations and 12 reported on assessment of elective uro-oncology procedures. There was consensus on postponing radical prostatectomy except for high-risk prostate cancer, and delaying treatment for low-grade bladder cancer, small renal masses up to T2, and stage I seminoma. According to nine guidelines that addressed endourology, obstructed or infected kidneys should be decompressed, whereas nonobstructing stones and stent removal should be rescheduled. Five guidelines/recommendations discussed laparoscopic and robotic surgery, while the remaining recommendations focused on outpatient procedures and consultations. All recommendations represented expert opinions, with three specifically endorsed by professional societies. Only the European Association of Urology guidelines provided evidence-based levels of evidence (mostly level 3 evidence).


      To make informed decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are multiple national and international guidelines and recommendations for urologists to prioritize the provision of care. Differences among the guidelines were minimal.

      Patient summary

      We performed a systematic review of published recommendations on urological practice during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which provide guidance on prioritizing the timing for different types of urological care.


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