Are surgical and non-operating room intervention safe in the COVID-19 pandemic? A retrospective study.

Aktaş Yıldırım S. , Sarıkaya Z. T. , Ulugöl H. , Özata A. S. , Aksu U., Toraman F., ...More

Epidemiology and infection, vol.149, no.16, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 149 Issue: 16
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s0950268821002119
  • Title of Journal : Epidemiology and infection
  • Keywords: COVID-19 transmission, COVID-19, intensive care requirement, mortality, non-operating room intervention, surgery, SURGERY, MORTALITY, DELAY


Little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on the outcomes of patients undergoing surgery and intervention. This study was conducted between 20 March and 20 May 2020 in six hospitals in Istanbul, and aimed to investigate the effects of surgery and intervention on COVID-19 disease progression, intensive care (ICU) need, mortality, and virus transmission to patients and healthcare workers. Patients were examined in three groups: Group I underwent emergency surgery, Group II had an emergency non-operating room intervention, and Group III received inpatient COVID-19 treatment but did not have surgery or undergo intervention. Mortality rates, mechanical ventilation needs, and rates of admission to the ICU were compared between the three groups. During this period, patient and healthcare worker transmissions were recorded. In total, 1,273 surgical, 476 non-operating room intervention patients, and 1,884 COVID-19 inpatients were examined. The rate of ICU requirement among patients who had surgery was nearly twice that for inpatients and intervention patients, but there was no difference in mortality between the groups. The overall mortality rates were 2.3% in surgical patients, 3.3% in intervention patients, and 3% in inpatients. COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positivity among hospital workers was 2.4 %. Only 3.3% of infected frontline healthcare workers were anaesthesiologists. No deaths occurred among infected healthcare workers. We conclude that emergency surgery and non-operating room interventions during the pandemic period do not increase postoperative mortality and can be performed with low transmission rates.