New international research published in Anaesthesia (a journal of the Association of Anaesthetists) concludes that surgery should be delayed for seven weeks after a patient tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, since the data show that surgery that takes place between 0 and 6 weeks after diagnosis is associated with increased mortality.
The study is by the COVIDSurg Collaborative: a global collaboration of over 15,000 surgeons working together to collect a range of data on the COVID-19 pandemic. This study's lead authors are Dr Dmitri Nepogodiev (Public Health) and Dr Aneel Bhangu (Surgeon) of the University of Birmingham, UK.
While it is known that infection with SARS-CoV-2 during surgery increases mortality and international guidelines recommend surgery should be delayed for patients testing positive for COVID-19, there is little evidence regarding the optimal duration of delay.
Dr Dmitri Nepogodiev says: "We found that patients operated 0-6 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosis are at increased risk of postoperative death, as were patients with ongoing symptoms at the time of surgery. We recommend that whenever possible surgery should be delayed for at least 7 weeks after a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result, or until symptoms resolve if patients have ongoing symptoms for 7 weeks or more after diagnosis."