Association between government policy and delays in emergent and elective surgical care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil: a modeling study

Background
The impact of public health policy to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on access to surgical care is poorly defined. We aim to quantify the surgical backlog during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Brazilian public health system and determine the relationship between state-level policy response and the degree of state-level delays in public surgical care.

Methods
Monthly estimates of surgical procedures performed per state from January 2016 to December 2020 were obtained from Brazil’s Unified Health System Informatics Department. Forecasting models using historical surgical volume data before March 2020 (first reported COVID-19 case) were constructed to predict expected monthly operations from March through December 2020. Total, emergency, and elective surgical monthly backlogs were calculated by comparing reported volume to forecasted volume. Linear mixed effects models were used to model the relationship between public surgical delivery and two measures of health policy response: the COVID-19 Stringency Index (SI) and the Containment & Health Index (CHI) by state.

Findings
Between March and December 2020, the total surgical backlog included 1,119,433 (95% Confidence Interval 762,663–1,523,995) total operations, 161,321 (95%CI 37,468–395,478) emergent operations, and 928,758 (95%CI 675,202–1,208,769) elective operations. Increased SI and CHI scores were associated with reductions in emergent surgical delays but increases in elective surgical backlogs. The maximum government stringency (score = 100) reduced emergency delays to nearly zero but tripled the elective surgical backlog.

Interpretation
Strong health policy efforts to contain COVID-19 ensure minimal reductions in delivery of emergent surgery, but dramatically increase elective backlogs. Additional coordinated government efforts will be necessary to specifically address the increased elective backlogs that accompany stringent responses.

Cancellation of Elective Surgical Cases in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital: Frequency and Reasons

Background: Dwindling economic resources and reduced manpower in the health sector require efficient use of the available resources. Day of surgery cancellation has far reaching consequences on the patients and the theatre staff involved. Full use of the theatre space should be pursued by every theatre user.

Objective: The study aimed to report on the rates and causes of day of surgery cancellation of elective surgical cases in our hospital as a means towards proffering solutions.

Materials and methods: It was a retrospective study of all elective cases that were booked over a 15-month period from January 2016 to March 2017. Cancellation was said to have occurred when the planned surgery did not take place on the proposed day of surgery. Cancellations were categorized into patient-related, surgeon-related, hospital-related and anesthetist-related. Reasons for the cancellations were documented. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software program, version 22. Variables were compared using Chi-square tests. A value of P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: During the 15-month period, a total of 1296 elective surgeries were booked. Of this, 118 (9.1%) cases were cancelled. Patient-related factor was the most common reason (47.5%) followed by surgeon-related factor (28%). Lack of funds was the most common patient related-reason for cancellation. Majority of the cancelled cases were general surgical cases (36.4%) followed by orthopedics (25.4%) and urology (11%). Seventy percent of the cancelled cases were first and second on the elective list. Conclusion: The cancellation rate in this study is high. The reasons for these cancellations are preventable. To ensure effective use of the theatre, efforts should be made to tackle these reasons.

The Role of the Orthopaedic Surgeon in the COVID-19 Era: Cautions and Perspectives

The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has revolutionized global healthcare in an unprecedented way and with unimaginable repercussions. Resource reallocation, socioeconomic confinement and reorganization of production activities are current challenges being faced both at the national and international levels, in a frame of uncertainty and fear. Hospitals have been restructured to provide the best care to COVID-19 patients while adopting preventive strategies not to spread the infection among healthcare providers and patients affected by other diseases. As a consequence, the concept of urgency and indications for elective treatments have been profoundly reshaped. In addition, several providers have been recruited in COVID-19 departments despite their original occupation, resulting in a profound rearrangement of both inpatient and outpatient care. Orthopaedic daily practice has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Surgical indications have been reformulated, with elective cases being promptly postponed and urgent interventions requiring exceptional attention, especially in suspected or COVID-19+ patients. This has made a strong impact on inpatient management, with the need of a dedicated staff, patient isolation and restrictive visiting hour policies. On the other hand, outpatient visits have been limited to reduce contacts between patients and the hospital personnel, with considerable consequences on post-operative quality of care and the human side of medical practice.

In this review, we aim to analyze the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the orthopaedic practice. Particular attention will be dedicated to opportune surgical indication, perioperative care and safe management of both inpatients and outpatients, also considering repercussions of the pandemic on resident education and ethical implications.

Mortality and pulmonary complications in patients undergoing surgery with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection: an international cohort study

Background
The impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on postoperative recovery needs to be understood to inform clinical decision making during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This study reports 30-day mortality and pulmonary complication rates in patients with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Methods
This international, multicentre, cohort study at 235 hospitals in 24 countries included all patients undergoing surgery who had SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed within 7 days before or 30 days after surgery. The primary outcome measure was 30-day postoperative mortality and was assessed in all enrolled patients. The main secondary outcome measure was pulmonary complications, defined as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or unexpected postoperative ventilation.

Findings
This analysis includes 1128 patients who had surgery between Jan 1 and March 31, 2020, of whom 835 (74·0%) had emergency surgery and 280 (24·8%) had elective surgery. SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed preoperatively in 294 (26·1%) patients. 30-day mortality was 23·8% (268 of 1128). Pulmonary complications occurred in 577 (51·2%) of 1128 patients; 30-day mortality in these patients was 38·0% (219 of 577), accounting for 82·6% (219 of 265) of all deaths. In adjusted analyses, 30-day mortality was associated with male sex (odds ratio 1·75 [95% CI 1·28–2·40], p<0·0001), age 70 years or older versus younger than 70 years (2·30 [1·65–3·22], p<0·0001), American Society of Anesthesiologists grades 3–5 versus grades 1–2 (2·35 [1·57–3·53], p<0·0001), malignant versus benign or obstetric diagnosis (1·55 [1·01–2·39], p=0·046), emergency versus elective surgery (1·67 [1·06–2·63], p=0·026), and major versus minor surgery (1·52 [1·01–2·31], p=0·047).

Interpretation
Postoperative pulmonary complications occur in half of patients with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection and are associated with high mortality. Thresholds for surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic should be higher than during normal practice, particularly in men aged 70 years and older. Consideration should be given for postponing non-urgent procedures and promoting non-operative treatment to delay or avoid the need for surgery.

Funding
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, Bowel and Cancer Research, Bowel Disease Research Foundation, Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons, British Association of Surgical Oncology, British Gynaecological Cancer Society, European Society of Coloproctology, NIHR Academy, Sarcoma UK, Vascular Society for Great Britain and Ireland, and Yorkshire Cancer Research.

High Elective Surgery Cancellation Rate in Malawi Primarily Due to Infrastructural Limitations.

The provision of safe and timely surgical care is essential to global health care. Low- and middle-income countries have a disproportionate share of the global surgical disease burden and struggle to provide care with the given resources. Surgery cancellation worldwide occurs for many reasons, which are likely to differ between high-income and low-income settings. We sought to evaluate the proportion of elective surgery that is cancelled and the associated reasons for cancellation at a tertiary hospital in Malawi.This was a retrospective review of a database maintained by the Department of Anesthesiology at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. Data were available from August 2011 to January 2015 and included weekday records for the number of scheduled surgeries, the number of cancelled surgeries, and the reasons for cancellation. Descriptive statistics were performed.Of 10,730 scheduled surgeries, 4740 (44.2%) were cancelled. The most common reason for cancellation was infrastructural limitations (84.8%), including equipment shortages (50.9%) and time constraints (33.3%). Provider limitations accounted for 16.5% of cancellations, most often due to shortages of anaesthesia providers. Preoperative medical conditions contributed to 26.3% of cancellations.This study demonstrates a high case cancellation rate at a tertiary hospital in Malawi, attributable primarily to infrastructural limitations. These data provide evidence that investments in medical infrastructure and prevention of workforce brain drain are critical to surgical services in this region.