Path to reopening surgery in the COVID-19 pandemic: Neurosurgery experience
De Biase, Gaetano
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Objective: To test the efficacy of an innovative coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) preoperative triage protocol as a way to gradually reopen and ramp-up elective surgeries. Patients and Methods: We reviewed clinical, radiographic, and laboratory data for all patients who underwent surgery within the neurosurgery department from March 26 through April 22, 2020. We collected data on demographic information, comorbidities, preoperative COVID-19 test results, whether COVID-19 respiratory or other symptoms were developed during hospitalization, hospital length of stay, discharge disposition, and postoperative COVID-19 test results. Results: Using a combination of both preoperative outpatient COVID-19 drive-through and inpatient testing to obtain surgical clearance with selected telemedicine evaluations, 103 nonelective neurosurgical procedures were performed in 102 patients. No patients tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) 48 hours before surgery. None of the patients developed any COVID-19 symptoms during their hospitalization or were readmitted to our emergency department postoperatively for COVID-19 symptoms. Conclusion: We describe a multifaceted preoperative triage protocol for safely performing nonelective neurosurgical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic, which could help other neurosurgical departments and hospitals minimize coronavirus exposure for patients and health care workers. We believe this triage strategy could be implemented at other centers to gradually restart a process toward elective surgeries in a safe way.
Link to resourcehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2020.06.003
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