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Preoperative nasopharyngeal swab testing and postoperative pulmonary complications in patients undergoing elective surgery during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Glasbey, JC; Omar, O; Nepogodiev, D; Minaya-Bravo, A; Bankhead-Kendall, BK; Fiore, M; Futaba, K; ... Scasso, S; + view all (2020) Preoperative nasopharyngeal swab testing and postoperative pulmonary complications in patients undergoing elective surgery during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. British Journal of Surgery , 108 (1) pp. 88-96. 10.1093/bjs/znaa051. Green open access

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Abstract

Background Surgical services are preparing to scale up in areas affected by COVID-19. This study aimed to evaluate the association between preoperative SARS-CoV-2 testing and postoperative pulmonary complications in patients undergoing elective cancer surgery. Methods This international cohort study included adult patients undergoing elective surgery for cancer in areas affected by SARS-CoV-2 up to 19 April 2020. Patients suspected of SARS-CoV-2 infection before operation were excluded. The primary outcome measure was postoperative pulmonary complications at 30 days after surgery. Preoperative testing strategies were adjusted for confounding using mixed-effects models. Results Of 8784 patients (432 hospitals, 53 countries), 2303 patients (26.2 per cent) underwent preoperative testing: 1458 (16.6 per cent) had a swab test, 521 (5.9 per cent) CT only, and 324 (3.7 per cent) swab and CT. Pulmonary complications occurred in 3.9 per cent, whereas SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed in 2.6 per cent. After risk adjustment, having at least one negative preoperative nasopharyngeal swab test (adjusted odds ratio 0.68, 95 per cent confidence interval 0.68 to 0.98; P = 0.040) was associated with a lower rate of pulmonary complications. Swab testing was beneficial before major surgery and in areas with a high 14-day SARS-CoV-2 case notification rate, but not before minor surgery or in low-risk areas. To prevent one pulmonary complication, the number needed to swab test before major or minor surgery was 18 and 48 respectively in high-risk areas, and 73 and 387 in low-risk areas. Conclusion Preoperative nasopharyngeal swab testing was beneficial before major surgery and in high SARS-CoV-2 risk areas. There was no proven benefit of swab testing before minor surgery in low-risk areas.

Type: Article
Title: Preoperative nasopharyngeal swab testing and postoperative pulmonary complications in patients undergoing elective surgery during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znaa051
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjs/znaa051
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Surgery
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Brain Repair and Rehabilitation
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Surgical Biotechnology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128731
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