October 5, 2020

COVID-19 testing of all children before anesthesia saves PPE

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

Universal COVID-19 testing of children before they have general anesthesia promotes efficient use of personal protective equipment (PPE), finds this study presented October 3 at the Anesthesiology 2020 annual meeting.

Overall, 1,033 children who had anesthesia at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia between March 26 and May 11, 2020, were included in the study. All were tested for COVID-19 using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before receiving anesthesia, and their test results were compared with those of 146 children who were suspected of being infected, based on verbal screening.


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PCR test results showed that 102 of the 146 suspected patients were negative, and they received care with standard PPE rather than expanded PPE including an N95 masks or respirators, a reduction of 70%.

The researchers also found that 10 children who verbally screened negative for COVID-19 actually tested positive and may have been overlooked, increasing healthcare workers’ risk of exposure.

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