Postoperative complications of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ellison RT. Surgical complications in patients with COVID-19. NEJM Journal Watch, June 2, 2020.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, most hospitals have suspended nonemergent surgeries. However, an increasing number of patients need urgent and semiurgent procedures, and there are economic incentives to restart elective surgery. Thus, it is critically important to know how COVID-19 affects surgical outcomes. An international observational study has assessed 30-day mortality and pulmonary complications in patients with COVID-19 undergoing surgery at 235 hospitals between January 1 and March 31, 2020. The infection was identified between 7 days before and 30 days after the procedure.

Among 1128 patients identified, 835 (74%) underwent emergency surgery, and 280, elective surgery. COVID-19 was diagnosed preoperatively in 294 (26%) and was confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in 969 (86%). The overall 30-day mortality rate was 24%; for elective procedures, 19%. Mortality was higher in men, patients over 70 years of age, ASA grades 3–5, malignancy, and with emergency and major surgical procedures. Pulmonary complications developed in 577 patients (51%) and were associated with a higher 30-day mortality rate.”


Doglietto F, et al. Factors Associated With Surgical Mortality and Complications Among Patients With and Without Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Italy. JAMA Surg. 2020 Jun 12.

Full-text for Emory users.

Results: Of 41 patients (of 333 who underwent operation during the same period) who underwent mainly urgent surgery, 33 (80.5%) had positive results for COVID-19 preoperatively and 8 (19.5%) had positive results within 5 days from surgery. Of the 123 patients of the combined cohorts (78 women [63.4%]; mean [SD] age, 76.6 [14.4] years), 30-day mortality was significantly higher for those with COVID-19 compared with control patients without COVID-19 (odds ratio [OR], 9.5; 95% CI, 1.77-96.53). Complications were also significantly higher (OR, 4.98; 95% CI, 1.81-16.07); pulmonary complications were the most common (OR, 35.62; 95% CI, 9.34-205.55), but thrombotic complications were also significantly associated with COVID-19 (OR, 13.2; 95% CI, 1.48-∞). Different models (cumulative link model and classification tree) identified COVID-19 as the main variable associated with complications.


More PubMed results on mortality in surgical patients with COVID-19.

See also: ACS: COVID-19 and Surgery

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