Science and Technology

Surgeries should be postponed for Covid-19 patients; high death risk: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 11, 2021

The international, multicentre, prospective cohort study said Covid-19 patients are over two-and-a-half times more likely to die following surgery

According to a new international study, surgeries should be postponed for around two months if a patient contracts coronavirus.

The study stated that Covid-19 patients are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to die after a surgery.

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Researchers carried out the study to calculate the optimal duration of planned delay for surgery if a person tests positive for Covid-19.

The authors conducted an international, multicentre, prospective cohort study of 140,231 patients. The patients were undergoing elective or emergency surgery in 116 countries last year in October.

Surgical patients with pre-operative SARS-CoV-2 infection were compared with those without previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. The primary outcome measure was 30-day post-operative mortality.

Lead author Dr. Shilpa Sharma, paediatric surgeon, AIIMS, New Delhi, said: “Thirty one doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, participated in the study, including patients from surgery, paediatric surgery, orthopaedics, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiac anaesthesia, neurosurgery, and neuroanaesthesia.”

She added: “For the first time, it gives us evidence about the least amount of time delay in doing surgery that would optimise final outcomes.”

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“However, this needs to be balanced by the disease risk to the patient. At AIIMS, we have been doing RTPCR /CBNAAT routinely for screening all surgical patients. Many times, these have shown up positive, and where possible, we have delayed the surgery and waited for the patient to recover,” she further stated.

The study noted that adjusted 30-day mortality in patients who did not have SARS-CoV-2 infection was 1.5 per cent. This was increased in patients operated at 0-2 weeks (4.0 per cent), 3-4 weeks (4.0 per cent), and at 5-6 weeks (3.6 per cent), but not at 7-8 weeks (1.5 per cent) after SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.

It further observed that patients operated within six weeks of the Covid-19 test were also at an elevated risk of 30-day post-operative pulmonary complications.

The study was published in the journal Anaesthesia.

Published on March 11, 2021

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