May 26, 2022

Surgical outcomes in children with COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This retrospective cohort study from researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, finds that children having surgical procedures while infected with COVID-19 may be at increased risk for development of pulmonary complications.

The analysis included 73 pediatric patients who had surgical procedures within 1 week of testing positive for COVID-19 and 218 control pediatric patients without COVID-19 and having similar procedures.

Among the findings:

  • Postoperative pulmonary complications occurred in 4 of the 73 patients who tested positive for COVID-19, compared with 3 of the 218 control patients.
  • Of the COVID-19 positive patients, those with symptoms were not more likely to develop pulmonary complications, though the number of symptomatic patients was low.
  • COVID-19 diagnosis was not associated with reoperation, readmission, length of postoperative hospital or ICU stay, or PACU oxygen administration, compared with uninfected control patients.

The data demonstrate an increased, but small, risk for infected pediatric patients having surgery, the researchers say. Larger multi-institutional studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on pediatric surgical patients.

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