June 4, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on spine surgeons

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study of spine surgeons around the world found they are experiencing the effects of COVID-19, including canceled procedures, changes in clinical roles, anxiety, and risk of exposure to the disease itself because of insufficient protective equipment.

Researchers evaluated survey responses from 902 spine surgeons with membership in AO Spine, which has more than 6,000 members from 91 countries.


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Among the survey findings:

  • most reported cancellation of 75% of their surgical cases each week
  • family health concerns were the greatest stressor (76%), followed by economic issues (45.7%), timeline to resume normal practice (44.9%), and community health (43.9%)
  • 95% expressed a need for formal international guidelines on how to manage patients with COVID-19
  • 23% reported working outside their normal scope of practice
  • 83% reported having access to COVID-19 testing, but only 7% were tested
  • 15.8% of those tested were positive, and 7.2% said they would not disclose their positive testing to patients
  • 50% said they lacked adequate protective equipment.

This study is the first to assess global variations on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among healthcare professionals, in this case spine surgeons, the authors say.

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