COVID patients should delay surgery to reduce death risk: Study

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Surgery should be delayed for seven weeks after a patient tests positive for COVID-19 – as operations taking place up to six weeks after diagnosis are associated with increased risk of death, a new global study by University of Birmingham has revealed.

According to a statement issued here, more than 25,000 surgeons worked together to collect data from 140,727 patients in 1,674 hospitals across 116 countries including India, Australia, Brazil, China, the UAE, UK and USA – creating one of the world’s largest and broadest studies on surgery. In India, Sher I Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (Department of Colorectal surgery), Srinagar was one among the 56 hospitals across the country and the only one from the state.

Publishing their findings in one of the leading medical journals of the world, “Anaesthesia”, this month ,the researchers discovered that patients operated 0-6 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosis were at increased(more than two-and-a-half times ) risk of postoperative death.

Dr Asif Mehraj, Hospital Lead from SKIMS said “this study would help us in optimising final outcomes following surgery in these patients. Scientific studies of this sort are need of the hour, as these have immense direct public benefit.”

Prof Nisar A Chowdri, Chairman Surgical Specialities and Head, Department of General and Minimal Invasive Surgery and Colorectal division, under whose supervision this study was conducted said with the results of this study it is clear that surgery should be delayed unless there is a significant risk in doing so. “This will be determined on case to case basis by the treating surgeon,” he said.

Director SKIMS Dr AG Ahangar-Ex officio Secretary to Govt. maintained that surgical intervention as and when indicated should neither be delayed nor avoided on account of a patient being tested positive.