August 17, 2022

Timing of major surgery after COVID-19 affects postop mortality

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study led by researchers at State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University, Brooklyn, finds that patients having major surgical procedures within 8 weeks of a COVID-19 infection have a substantially higher postoperative 90-day mortality, regardless of symptoms.

Analyzing data on 938 COVID-19 positive patient cases and 7,235 negative control patients from the Veterans Affairs COVID-19 Shared Data Resource from January 2020 through May 2021, the researchers found that 90-day mortality was similar in case and control patients when procedures were performed 9 weeks or longer after COVID-19 diagnosis.

They also found that 90-day mortality was significantly higher in case vs control patients when procedures were performed within:

  • 8 weeks of diagnosis (16.6% vs 5.8%)
  • 7 to 8 weeks of diagnosis (12.3% vs 4.9%)
  • 5 to 6 weeks of diagnosis (10.3% vs 3.3%)
  • 3 to 4 weeks of diagnosis (19.6% vs 6.7%)
  • 1 to 2 weeks of diagnosis (24.7% vs 7.4%).

When the interaction between case status and any symptom, respiratory symptoms, or fever were assessed, the researchers found no statistical significance.

The researchers concluded that the safest time to have a major surgical procedure after COVID-19 diagnosis is 9 weeks or longer.


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