Surgical management during the COVID-19 era at a private tertiary care hospital of Karachi, Pakistan: A cross-sectional study

Nida Zahid, Erum Baig, Gulzar S. Lakhani, Hasnain Zafar, Asad Latif, Syed Ather Enam

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Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), declared a pandemic in March 2020, has affected the entire healthcare system, including the surgical practice. Guidelines for the management of surgical patients during this COVID-19 era need to be established to provide timely yet safe surgical care. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the outcomes of the COVID-19 testing algorithm established for surgery patients presenting to a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, and to compare the outcomes among patients who underwent elective versus emergency surgery.Methodology: This is a cross-sectional study conducted at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan to apply and assess the outcomes of the COVID-19 testing algorithm established for patients presenting for surgery. We included all patients who underwent any surgery from May to October 2020. The total sample size was 6,846. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 23 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). The categorical variables were assessed using the chi-square or Fisher’s exact test. A p-value of Results: A total of 6,846 surgeries were performed from May 1 to October 31, 2020. In total, 74% of the surgeries were elective procedures. We observed that a significantly higher proportion of emergency surgery patients tested positive for COVID-19 (4.2%) compared to elective surgery patients (25/5,063, 0.5%). A higher proportion of surgeries were performed in September (1,437, 21%) and October (1,445, 21%) while the lowest number of surgeries were performed in May (625, 9.1%). From week one to week five, a higher proportion of emergency surgeries were performed (32%) compared to elective surgeries (25%). Only 1.9% of the patients who were undergoing surgery were COVID-19 positive, with the highest number of COVID-19 cases presenting in June. Overall, 74 (4.2%) of the COVID-19-positive patients underwent emergency surgeries.Conclusions: The timely establishment of well-defined guidelines for surgical management during the pandemic allowed us to provide timely and effective surgical care to patients with the priority of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and preventing unnecessary deferral of surgeries.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalDepartment of Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022

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