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1.
Biomedicines ; 10(5)2022 Apr 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809702

ABSTRACT

The pathophysiology of gastrointestinal damage in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is probably multifactorial. It is not clear whether the etiology of intestinal ischemia may be directly related to viral replication or may result from hyper-coagulability following SARS-CoV-2 infection.To confirm a pathogenic role of COVID-19, we retrospectively investigated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the ischemic bowel of five COVID-19 patients undergoing emergency surgery for intestinal ischemia in the period of March 2020-May 2021. Immunohistochemical positivity with weak intensity was observed in four out of five cases, but only one case was strongly positive both at immunohistochemistry and at molecular analysis. The histological alterations in the intestinal tissue samples showed similarity with the well-known alterations described in typical targetorgans of the virus (e.g., the lung). This observation suggests a similar mechanism of action of the virus. Further larger studies are, thus, required to confirm this preliminary finding. Clinicians should carefully monitor all COVID-19 patients for the possible presence of a SARS-CoV-2 intestinal infection, a potential cause of ischemia and bowel perforation.

2.
Infection ; 2022 Mar 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1719081

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The presence of the SARS-CoV-2 in the peritoneal fluid is a matter of debate in the COVID-19 literature. The study aimed to report the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the peritoneal fluid of patients with nasopharyngeal swab tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 undergoing emergency surgery and review the literature. METHODS: The present study was conducted between March 2020 and June 2021. Diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 positivity was confirmed by preoperative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). RESULTS: Eighteen patients with positive nasopharyngeal swabs were operated in emergency in two third-level Italian hospitals. In 13 of these patients (72%), a peritoneal swab was analyzed: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in the abdominal fluid of two patients (15%). Neither of them had visceral perforation and one patient died. In ten patients with negative peritoneal swabs, visceral perforation and mortality rates were 30% and 20%, respectively. CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2 peritoneal positivity is rare. Abdominal surgery can, therefore, be safely performed in patients with COVID-19 using standard precautions. The correlation with a visceral perforation is not evaluable. The clinical outcomes seem uninfluenced by the viral colonization of the peritoneum. Assessment in large series to provide definitive answers about the involvement of the SARS-CoV-2 in the peritoneum will be challenging to coordinate.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321598

ABSTRACT

Background: Since the COVID-19 pandemic has occurred, nations showed their unpreparedness to deal with a mass casualty incident of this proportion and severity. The World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES) conceived this position paper with the purpose of providing recommendations for the management of surgical, infected and non-infected, patients in emergency setting under COVID-19 pandemic in the safety of the patient and health care workers based on available evidences and experienced surgeons’opinion.MethodA systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P)through the MEDLINE (PubMed), Embase and SCOPUS databases. Synthesis of evidence, statements and recommendations were developed in accordance with the GRADE methodology.ResultsGiven the limitation of the evidence, the current document represents an effort to provide a guide for emergency surgeons to perform safely surgery during this pandemic on the basis of evidence medicine and principles of mass casualty incident management to limit the diffusion of the infection among patients and health care workers. ConclusionsWe recommend screening for COVID-19 infection at emergency department, all surgical patients with clinical and epidemiologic features suspect for COVID-19 disease who are waiting for hospital admission and urgent surgery. The screening provides performing a RT-PCR naso-pharyngeal swab test and a baseline (non-contrast) chest CT or chest X-ray or lungs US, depending on skills and availability.The management of COVID-19 surgical patient is multidiplinary.If an immediate surgical procedure is mandatory, whether laparoscopic or via open approach, we recommend doing every efforts to protect the operating room staff, in the safety of the patient . We recommend not being present during the intubation and extubation maneuvers (1A).To perform a safe surgical procedure, we recommend:-having a trained staff, wearing the necessary personal protective equipments, and an established protocol for the preoperative, peri-operative and postoperative management of the COVID-19 surgical patient;-being careful in the establishment and management of the artificial pneumoperitoneum, in the control of the hemostasis and of incisions to prevent any loss of biological fluids and contamination of the surgical staff;-using of all available devices to remove smoke and aerosol during the operation and a closed suction system for artificial pneumoperitoneum, especially if there is a risk of conversion to laparotomy.If it is not possible to perform surgery in a safe and protected environment, we recommend do not underestimating the highest risk of contamination and infection for health care workers and dissemination of the virus in the hospital and to consider transferring the patient in a COVID HUB hospital for the appropriate management.The administration of prophylactic anticoagulation with LMWH is recommended as soon as possible in COVID-19 patients to reduce thromboembolic risk related to the virus and sepsis, decreasing the mortality rate. We recommend to carefully administrating antibiotics in COVID-19 surgical patients for the high risk of selecting resistant bacteria, especially in patients admitted in ICU for mechanical ventilation. Early empirical antibiotic treatment should be targeted to results from cultures, with de-escalation of treatment as soon as possible. We recommend against empirical antifungal treatment in all surgical COVID-19 patients but to consider it in critically ill patients.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-319109

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a rise in healthcare demands and has necessitated a significant restructuring of hospital Emergency Departments.The present study aims to determine the pandemic lockdown's impact on the number of patients seeking assessment in the Surgical Emergency Department (SED) with General Surgery emergencies. Methods: : Since the start of the Covid pandemic in Greece (1 March, 2020) and up to 15 December 2020, the charts of all patients arriving at the SED of the third surgical department of the “Attikon” University Hospital (a tertiary referral center for surgical and COVID-19 cases) were retrospectively reviewed and broken down in four periods reflecting two nationwide lockdown (period A;1/3/2020 to 30/4/2020 and period D;16/10/2020 to 15/12/2020) and two interim (period B;1/5/2020 to 15/6/2020 and period C;15/9/2020 to 30/10/2020) periods. Demographic and clinical data were compared to those obtained from the same time periods of the year 2019. Results: : The total number of patients attending the SED decreased by 35.9% during the pandemic (from 2839 total patients in 2020 to 1819 in 2019). During the first lockdown, there was a statistically significant reduction of motor vehicle accidents (p=0.04) and torso injuries (p=0.01). A rise in the rate of traumatic brain injuries (p<0.001), abdominal pain (p=0.04) and hospital admissions (p=0.002) was also evident. During the second lockdown, there was a reduction in the number of perianal abscess cases (p=0.04) and hernia-related problems (p=0.001). An increase in the rate of fall injuries was also demonstrable (p=0.02). Conclusion: The burden of the new COVID-19 disease has left a noticeable imprint in the function of emergency departments worldwide. In Greece, implemented lockdown measures significantly impacted the SED attendance rates, the clinical characteristics of the attending patients and the overall hospital admission rate. The long-term effects on national health systems remain to be seen.

5.
Turk J Surg ; 37(4): 387-393, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1689504

ABSTRACT

Objectives: During the COVID-19 pandemic, several studies have reported a decrease in in the admission surgical patients and emergency surgical procedures, and an increase in more severe septic surgical diseases, such as necrotic cholecystitis. It was probably due to to a critical delay in time-to- diagnosis and time-to-intervention resulting to limited access to the operating theatres as well as intensive care units. Early laparoscopic cholecystec- tomy is the standard of care for acute cholecystitis. Moreover early data from COVID-19 pandemic reported an increase in the incidence of necrotic cholecystitis among COVID-19 patients. The ChoCO-W prospective observational collaborative study was conceived to investigate the incidence and management of acute cholecystitis under the COVID-19 pandemic. Material and Methods: The present research protocol was. conceived and designed as a prospective observational international collaborative study focusing on the management of patients with to the diagnosis of acute cholecystitis under the COVID-19 pandemic. The study obtained the approval of the local Ethics Committee (Nimes, France) and meet and conform to the standards outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki. Eligible patients will be prospectively enrolled in the recruitment period and data entered in an online case report form. Results: The ChoCO-W study will be the largest prospective study carried out during the first period of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim to inves- tigate the management of patients with acute cholecystitis, in the lack of studies focusing on COVID-19 positive patients. Conclusion: The ChoCO-W study is conceived to be the largest prospective study to assess the management of patients presenting with acute chol- ecystitis during the COVID-19 pandemic and risk factors correlated with necrotic cholecystitis to improve the management of high-risk patients.

8.
World J Emerg Surg ; 16(1): 46, 2021 09 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403246

ABSTRACT

On January 2020, the WHO Director General declared that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The world has faced a worldwide spread crisis and is still dealing with it. The present paper represents a white paper concerning the tough lessons we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, an international and heterogenous multidisciplinary panel of very differentiated people would like to share global experiences and lessons with all interested and especially those responsible for future healthcare decision making. With the present paper, international and heterogenous multidisciplinary panel of very differentiated people would like to share global experiences and lessons with all interested and especially those responsible for future healthcare decision making.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Global Health , Pandemics , Biomedical Research , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines , Delivery of Health Care/organization & administration , Health Policy , Health Services Accessibility , Health Status Disparities , Healthcare Disparities , Humans , International Cooperation , Mass Vaccination/organization & administration , Pandemics/prevention & control , Politics , Primary Health Care/organization & administration , Telemedicine/organization & administration
9.
World J Emerg Surg ; 16(1): 30, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1280596

ABSTRACT

Bile duct injury (BDI) is a dangerous complication of cholecystectomy, with significant postoperative sequelae for the patient in terms of morbidity, mortality, and long-term quality of life. BDIs have an estimated incidence of 0.4-1.5%, but considering the number of cholecystectomies performed worldwide, mostly by laparoscopy, surgeons must be prepared to manage this surgical challenge. Most BDIs are recognized either during the procedure or in the immediate postoperative period. However, some BDIs may be discovered later during the postoperative period, and this may translate to delayed or inappropriate treatments. Providing a specific diagnosis and a precise description of the BDI will expedite the decision-making process and increase the chance of treatment success. Subsequently, the choice and timing of the appropriate reconstructive strategy have a critical role in long-term prognosis. Currently, a wide spectrum of multidisciplinary interventions with different degrees of invasiveness is indicated for BDI management. These World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES) guidelines have been produced following an exhaustive review of the current literature and an international expert panel discussion with the aim of providing evidence-based recommendations to facilitate and standardize the detection and management of BDIs during cholecystectomy. In particular, the 2020 WSES guidelines cover the following key aspects: (1) strategies to minimize the risk of BDI during cholecystectomy; (2) BDI rates in general surgery units and review of surgical practice; (3) how to classify, stage, and report BDI once detected; (4) how to manage an intraoperatively detected BDI; (5) indications for antibiotic treatment; (6) indications for clinical, biochemical, and imaging investigations for suspected BDI; and (7) how to manage a postoperatively detected BDI.


Subject(s)
Bile Ducts/injuries , Cholecystectomy/adverse effects , Humans , Iatrogenic Disease , Intraoperative Period , Quality of Life
10.
World J Emerg Surg ; 16(1): 22, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219824

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a rise in healthcare demands leading to significant restructuring of hospital emergency departments worldwide. The aim of the present study is twofold: firstly, to discern any differences in regard to reason for surgical emergency department (SED) attendance and hospital admission during the pandemic and pre-pandemic eras in Greece, and secondly, to assess the impact of the lockdown measures implemented during the pandemic on SED patient attendance. METHODS: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Greece (1 March 2020) and up to 15 December 2020, the charts of all adult patients arriving at the SED of the third surgical department of the "Attikon" University Hospital (a tertiary referral center for surgical and COVID-19 cases) were retrospectively reviewed and broken down in four periods reflecting two nationwide lockdown (period A 1/3/2020 to 30/4/2020 and period D 16/10/2020 to 15/12/2020) and two interim (period B 1/5/2020 to 15/6/2020 and period C 15/9/2020 to 30/10/2020) periods. Demographic and clinical data were compared to those obtained from the same time periods of the year 2019. RESULTS: The total number of patients attending the SED decreased by 35.9% during the pandemic (from 2839 total patients in 2019 to 1819 in 2020). During the first lockdown, there was statistically significant reduction of motor vehicle accidents (p=0.04) and torso injuries (p=0.01). Contrarily, the rate of head injuries (p<0.001) and abdominal pain (p=0.04) were significantly increased. The same effect was observed regarding the rate of hospital admissions (p=0.002), although in terms of absolute numbers, admissions remained unchanged. During the second lockdown, there was a reduction in the number of perianal abscess cases (p=0.04) and hernia-related problems (p=0.001). An increase in the rate of fall injuries was also demonstrable (p=0.02). Overall, application of the lockdown led to a significant decrease in minor (p<0.001) and torso (p=0.001) injuries. CONCLUSION: The burden of the new COVID-19 disease has left a noticeable imprint in the function of emergency departments worldwide. In Greece, SED attendance was significantly reduced during the pandemic, an effect that was even more pronounced during the lockdown implementation; nevertheless, the overall rate of hospital admissions remained the same, denoting that patient care was not altered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Surgical Procedures, Operative/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Emergencies , Female , Greece/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Tertiary Care Centers
11.
Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg ; 47(5): 1359-1365, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1176318

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During pandemic, admissions for surgical emergencies dropped down dramatically. Also acute appendicitis decreased. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the change in volume and clinical presentation of patients with acute appendicitis during pandemic and the variation in treatment. METHODS: This is a retrospective study of patients admitted in 11 Italian hospital for acute appendicitis during the lockdown period (March-April 2020) compared with the same period of the previous 2 years (2018-2019). The number and the rate of complicated and non-complicated acute appendicitis were recorded and compared between the two study periods; non-operative vs operative treatment and negative appendectomy rate were also recorded. RESULTS: The study included 532 patients, 112 in the study period and 420 in the control period; Hospital admission for acute appendicitis dropped by 46% (OR 0.516 95% CI 0.411-0.648 p < 0.001) during the 2020 lockdown. The number of complicated acute appendicitis did not change (- 18%, OR 0.763 95% CI 0.517-1.124 p = 0.1719), whereas the number of non-complicated acute appendicitis significantly decreased (- 56%, OR 0.424 95% CI 0.319-0.564 p < 0.001). Non-operative treatment rate remained similar (12.1% vs. 11.6% p = 0.434). The negative appendectomy rate also significantly decreased (6.1% vs. 17.3%, p = 0.006). CONCLUSIONS: The present study found a significant reduction of both admissions for non-complicated acute appendicitis and negative appendectomy rate during the pandemic period. Conversely, admissions for complicated acute appendicitis did not change. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04649996.


Subject(s)
Appendicitis , COVID-19 , Laparoscopy , Appendectomy , Appendicitis/epidemiology , Appendicitis/surgery , Humans , Length of Stay , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
12.
World J Emerg Surg ; 16(1): 14, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1146830

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the COVID-19 pandemic has occurred, nations showed their unpreparedness to deal with a mass casualty incident of this proportion and severity, which resulted in a tremendous number of deaths even among healthcare workers. The World Society of Emergency Surgery conceived this position paper with the purpose of providing evidence-based recommendations for the management of emergency surgical patients under COVID-19 pandemic for the safety of the patient and healthcare workers. METHOD: A systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) through the MEDLINE (PubMed), Embase and SCOPUS databases. Synthesis of evidence, statements and recommendations were developed in accordance with the GRADE methodology. RESULTS: Given the limitation of the evidence, the current document represents an effort to join selected high-quality articles and experts' opinion. CONCLUSIONS: The aim of this position paper is to provide an exhaustive guidelines to perform emergency surgery in a safe and protected environment for surgical patients and for healthcare workers under COVID-19 and to offer the best management of COVID-19 patients needing for an emergency surgical treatment. We recommend screening for COVID-19 infection at the emergency department all acute surgical patients who are waiting for hospital admission and urgent surgery. The screening work-up provides a RT-PCR nasopharyngeal swab test and a baseline (non-contrast) chest CT or a chest X-ray or a lungs US, depending on skills and availability. If the COVID-19 screening is not completed we recommend keeping the patient in isolation until RT-PCR swab test result is not available, and to manage him/she such as an overt COVID patient. The management of COVID-19 surgical patients is multidisciplinary. If an immediate surgical procedure is mandatory, whether laparoscopic or via open approach, we recommend doing every effort to protect the operating room staff for the safety of the patient.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Infection Control/standards , Perioperative Care/standards , Surgical Procedures, Operative/standards , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19 Testing/standards , Emergencies , Global Health , Humans , Infection Control/instrumentation , Infection Control/methods , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control , Laparoscopy/methods , Laparoscopy/standards , Pandemics , Perioperative Care/methods , Personal Protective Equipment , Surgical Procedures, Operative/methods
13.
World J Emerg Surg ; 16(1): 13, 2021 03 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143232

ABSTRACT

We present the New Year letter from the WSES board to wish everyone a new year full of positive surprises and good news, despite COVID-19 pandemic.We confirm the WSES primary aim: to promote education in emergency surgery putting together all the world experts on emergency surgery without restrictions or boundaries, in inclusivity, equality, and equal opportunities. This will be the year of innovations and WSES will assess the application of artificial intelligence technologies in emergency and trauma surgery.Thank you All for trusting us with your collaboration.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Emergency Medical Services/trends , Emergency Medicine/trends , Societies, Medical/trends , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
14.
The New Microbiologica ; 43(4):156, 2020.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1136750

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has already reached 3,207,248 patients with more than 225,000 deaths all over the world. Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer worldwide, and the healthcare system is struggling to manage daily activities for elective cancer surgery. This review integrates clinical, microbiological, architectural and surgical aspects to develop indications on strategies to manage colorectal cancer patients and ensure safety during the pandemic. Telephone or virtual clinics must be encouraged and phone follow-up should be implemented. Indications for surgery must be rigorous, balancing the advantage of early surgical treatment and risks of treatment delay. To decrease the occupancy rate of intensive care unit beds, elective surgical treatment should be delayed until local endemic control, according to stage of disease. Patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection should be treated only after clinical recovery, two consecutive negative oropharyngeal swabs and, if available, a negative stool sample. Before any elective oncologic procedure, a multidisciplinary oncologic team including an anaesthesiologist and an infectious disease specialist must assess every patient to evaluate the risk of infection and its impact on perioperative morbidity, mortality and oncologic prognosis. The hospital should organise to manage all elective oncologic patients in an 'infection-free' area or refer them to a non-SARS-CoV-2 hospital.

15.
Ann Surg ; 272(3): e240-e242, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1114935

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The excretion pathomechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 are actually unknown. No certain data exist about viral load in the different body compartments and fluids during the different disease phases. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Specific real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction targeting 3 SARS-CoV-e genes were used to detect the presence of the virus. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 was detected in peritoneal fluid at a higher concentration than in respiratory tract. CONCLUSION: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in peritoneal fluid has never been reported. The present article represents the very first positive result describing the presence of the virus in peritoneal fluid during an emergency surgical procedure in a COVID-19 sick patient. This article thus represents a warning for increasing the level of awareness and protection for surgeon especially in emergency surgical setting.


Subject(s)
Ascitic Fluid/virology , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Aged , Humans , Male , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Viral Load
16.
World J Emerg Surg ; 15(1): 64, 2020 12 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-968942

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is a major challenge for health care services worldwide. It's impact on oncologic therapies and elective surgery has been described recently, and the literature provides guidelines regarding appropriate elective patient treatment during the pandemic. However, the impact of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on emergency surgery services has been poorly investigated up to now. METHODS: A 17-item web survey had been distributed to emergency surgeons in June 2020 around the world, investigating the impact of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on patients and septic diseases both requiring emergency surgery and the time-to-intervention in emergency surgery routine, as well as experiences with surgery in COVID-19 patients. RESULTS: Ninety-eight collaborators from 31 countries responded to the survey. The majority (65.3%) estimated the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on emergency surgical patient care as being strong or very strong. Due to the pandemic, 87.8% reported a decrease in the total number of patients undergoing emergency surgery and approximately 25% estimated a delay of more than 2 h in the time-to-diagnosis and another 2 h in the time-to-intervention. Fifty percent make structural problems with in-hospital logistics (e.g. transport of patients, closed normal wards etc.) mainly responsible for delayed emergency surgery and the frequent need (56.1%) for a triage of emergency surgical patients. 56.1% of the collaborators observed more severe septic abdominal diseases during the pandemic, especially for perforated appendicitis and severe septic cholecystitis (41.8% and 40.2%, respectively). 62.2% had experiences with surgery in COVID-19-infected patients. CONCLUSIONS: The results of The WSES COVID-19 emergency surgery survey are alarming. The combination of an estimated decrease in numbers of emergency surgical patients and an observed increase in more severe septic diseases may be a result of the fear of patients from infection with COVID-19 and a consecutive delayed hospital admission and diagnosis. A critical delay in time-to-diagnosis and time-to-intervention may be a result of changes in in-hospital logistics and operating room as well as intensive care capacities. Both reflect the potentially harmful impact of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on emergency surgery services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Facilities and Services Utilization/statistics & numerical data , Global Health/statistics & numerical data , Surgical Procedures, Operative/statistics & numerical data , General Surgery/statistics & numerical data , Health Care Surveys , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Int J Qual Health Care ; 33(1)2021 Feb 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-704209

ABSTRACT

QUALITY PROBLEM OR ISSUE: The on-going COVID-19 pandemic may cause the collapse of healthcare systems because of unprecedented hospitalization rates. INITIAL ASSESSMENT: A total of 8.2 individuals per 1000 inhabitants have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in our province. The hospital predisposed 110 beds for COVID-19 patients: on the day of the local peak, 90% of them were occupied and intensive care unit (ICU) faced unprecedented admission rates, fearing system collapse. CHOICE OF SOLUTION: Instead of increasing the number of ICU beds, the creation of a step-down unit (SDU) close to the ICU was preferred: the aim was to safely improve the transfer of patients and to relieve ICU from the risk of overload. IMPLEMENTATION: A nine-bed SDU was created next to the ICU, led by intensivists and ICU nurses, with adequate personal protective equipment, monitoring systems and ventilators for respiratory support when needed. A second six-bed SDU was also created. EVALUATION: Patients were clinically comparable to those of most reports from Western Countries now available in the literature. ICU never needed supernumerary beds, no patient died in the SDU, and there was no waiting time for ICU admission of critical patients. SDU has been affordable from human resources, safety and economic points of view. LESSONS LEARNED: COVID-19 is like an enduring mass casualty incident. Solutions tailored on local epidemiology and available resources should be implemented to preserve the efficiency and adaptability of our institutions and provide the adequate sanitary response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Critical Illness , Intensive Care Units/organization & administration , Intermediate Care Facilities/organization & administration , Bed Occupancy/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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