Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 who have planned surgeries should delay them by at least seven weeks post-infection according researchers at the University of Birmingham, England who led a worldwide study published in the medical journal Anaesthesia on March 9, 2021.
As with all recommendations based on large population studies, however, each patient should be made in consultation with treating physicians to determine what is best for them.
“Decisions regarding delaying surgery should be tailored for each patient, since the possible advantages of a minimum seven-week delay following SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis must be balanced against the potential risks of delay. For some urgent surgeries, for example for advanced tumours, surgeons and patients may decide that the risks of delay are not justified,” advised Aneel Bhangu from the University of Birmingham, a co-leader of the study.
The study surveyed all surgeries, regardless of type, in 116 countries, 1,674 hospitals and 140,727 patients who had been COVID-positive prior to their procedures.
Mortality for was 9.1% for patient who had surgeries within two weeks of infection and declined to 2% for those who had surgeries seven or more weeks later. After the seven week threshold, the study also found patients who were symptomatic had higher mortality rates than those who were asymptomatic.
about the author
Greg Brozeit has been with the HealthTree Foundation since 2015 when he began volunteering for the Myeloma Crowd. Prior to that he worked with Dr. Bart Barlogie and the International Myeloma Foundation, inaugurating many myeloma patient advocacy and education programs.