COVID-19: Study Suggests Patients Should Delay Surgery For At Least 7 Weeks After Diagnosis

covid-19: study suggests patients should delay surgery for at least 7 weeks after diagnosis
Photo via MIMS Malaysia

A new international study has concluded that COVID-19 patients are more likely to die after an operation if their surgery occurred within six weeks following their diagnosis.
 
“Surgery should be delayed for seven weeks after a patient tests positive for COVID-19, as operations taking place up to six weeks after diagnosis are associated with increased risk of deaths, according to a new global study,” the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, said in a statement today (March 10th).
 
The study is by the COVIDSurg Collaborative: a global collaboration of over 15,000 surgeons from 116 countries, including Malaysia, working together to collect a range of data on the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
“Researchers discovered that patients are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to die after their operations, if the procedure takes place in the six weeks following a positive diagnosis,” the statement continued.
 
However, it’s important to note that the findings that were published in the medical journal Anaesthesia offered little by way of optimal duration of the surgery delay for patients with ongoing symptoms of COVID-19.
 
The study mentioned that hospitals that participated in the study included all patients undergoing surgical procedures in October 2020 and excluded those who were infected with the virus post-surgery.
 
These findings were consistent across age groups, patient fitness levels, urgency (elective versus emergency) of surgery, and grade (minor versus major) of surgery. 
 
Following a delay of seven weeks or more, patients with ongoing COVID-19 symptoms (6.0%) had higher mortality than patients whose symptoms had resolved (2.4%) or who had been asymptomatic (1.3%).
 
National study lead for Malaysia, Dr April Camilla Roslani said that in light of the findings, it is important to provide clarity on the timing of surgery and impact of mass vaccination.
 
“It is, however, important to contextualise the application of these findings. Life-saving surgery should not be delayed, and the impact of mass vaccination will need to be evaluated in due course,” she said.
 
Take note, guys!


by Kyle Roshen Jacob