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Ann Surg Oncol ; 28(9): 4816-4826, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1190139


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unparalleled changes to patient care, including the suspension of cancer surgery. Concerns regarding COVID-19-related risks to patients and healthcare workers with the re-introduction of major complex minimally invasive and open surgery have been raised. This study examines the COVID-19 related risks to patients and healthcare workers following the re-introduction of major oesophago-gastric (EG) surgery. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was an international, multi-centre, observational study of consecutive patients treated by open and minimally invasive oesophagectomy and gastrectomy for malignant or benign disease. Patients were recruited from nine European centres serving regions with a high population incidence of COVID-19 between 1 May and 1 July 2020. The primary endpoint was 30-day COVID-19-related mortality. All staff involved in the operative care of patients were invited to complete a health-related survey to assess the incidence of COVID-19 in this group. RESULTS: In total, 158 patients were included in the study (71 oesophagectomy, 82 gastrectomy). Overall, 87 patients (57%) underwent MIS (59 oesophagectomy, 28 gastrectomy). A total of 403 staff were eligible for inclusion, of whom 313 (78%) completed the health survey. Approaches to mitigate against the risks of COVID-19 for patients and staff varied amongst centres. No patients developed COVID-19 in the post-operative period. Two healthcare workers developed self-limiting COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: Precautions to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection have enabled the safe re-introduction of minimally invasive and open EG surgery for both patients and staff. Further studies are necessary to determine the minimum requirements for mitigations against COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Health Personnel , Humans , Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures , SARS-CoV-2
Dis Esophagus ; 34(6)2021 Jun 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-947651


Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) outbreak has significantly burdened healthcare systems worldwide, leading to reorganization of healthcare services and reallocation of resources. The Italian Society for Study of Esophageal Diseases (SISME) conducted a national survey to evaluate changes in esophageal cancer management in a region severely struck by COVID-19 pandemic. A web-based questionnaire (26 items) was sent to 12 SISME units. Short-term outcomes of esophageal resections performed during the lockdown were compared with those achieved in the same period of 2019. Six (50%) centers had significant restrictions in their activity. However, overall number of resections did not decrease compared to 2019, while a higher rate of open esophageal resections was observed (40 vs. 21.7%; P = 0.034). Surgery was delayed in 24 (36.9%) patients in 6 (50%) centers, mostly due to shortage of anesthesiologists, and occupation of intensive care unit beds from intubated COVID-19 patients. Indications for neoadjuvant chemo (radio) therapy were extended in 14% of patients. Separate COVID-19 hospital pathways were active in 11 (91.7%) units. COVID-19 screening protocols included nasopharyngeal swab in 91.7%, chest computed tomography scan in 8.3% and selective use of lung ultrasound in 75% of units. Postoperative interstitial pneumonia occurred in 1 (1.5%) patient. Recovery from COVID-19 pandemic was characterized by screening of patients in all units, and follow-up outpatient visits in only 33% of units. This survey shows that clinical strategies differed considerably among the 12 SISME centers. Evidence-based guidelines are needed to support the surgical esophageal community and to standardize clinical practice in case of further pandemics.

COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control , Digestive System Surgical Procedures/statistics & numerical data , Esophageal Neoplasms , Pandemics , Surgeons/psychology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks , Esophageal Neoplasms/epidemiology , Esophageal Neoplasms/surgery , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2