Guidance issued for elective orthopedic surgery during COVID-19

(HealthDay)—In new guidelines from the International Consensus Group, published in the July 15 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, recommendations are presented for the reintroduction of elective orthopedic surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Javad Parvizi, M.D., from the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Philadelphia, and colleagues developed recommendations based on the available scientific evidence for reintroduction of elective orthopedic surgical procedures, with a specific focus on preventing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection.

The authors emphasize the importance of understanding which practices and protocols should be altered or implemented to minimize the risk for pathogen transfer during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. When determining how and when to implement recommendations, each hospital and health system should consider their unique situation in terms of SARS-CoV-2 prevalence, staffing capabilities, and personal protective equipment supply. Elective surgery may be resumed when lockdown has been lifted, the number of COVID-19 cases in the region has been consistently declining, the facility can admit non-COVID-19 patients to an area separate from COVID-19 patients, and the facility can maintain proper social distancing through the operative process. Prior to undergoing elective surgery, all patients should be screened for SARS-CoV-2; patients currently infected should not undergo elective surgery. Elective surgery should be risk-stratified and possibly deferred for patients at high risk for COVID-19.

“We realize that the situation is evolving on a daily basis and that some of the recommendations in the present report may need to be altered as new evidence emerges,” the authors write.

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