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 engaged in myeloma patient advocacy since 1998. He began working with the Myeloma Crowd in 2015. Prior to that, he consulted with Dr. Bart Barlogie at the University of Arkansas after working with the International Myeloma Foundation for 15 years, where he inaugurated the public policy advocacy program, patient support group outreach and IMF Europe, organizing more than 100 physician and patient education programs. He earned his BA in political science from Loyola University in New Orleans and lives in northeast Ohio.