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1.
ANZ J Surg ; 91(11): 2360-2375, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515195

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Telehealth use has increased worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, hands-on requirements of surgical care may have resulted in slower implementation. This umbrella review (review of systematic reviews) evaluated the perceptions, safety and implementation of telehealth services in surgery, and telehealth usage in Australia between 2020 and 2021. METHODS: PubMed was searched from 2015 to 2021 for systematic reviews evaluating real-time telehealth modalities in surgery. Outcomes of interest were patient and provider satisfaction, safety, and barriers and facilitators associated with its use. Study quality was appraised using the AMSTAR 2 tool. A working group of surgeons provided insights into the clinical relevance to telehealth in surgical practice of the evidence collated. RESULTS: From 2025 identified studies, 17 were included, which were of low to moderate risk of bias. Patient and provider satisfaction with telehealth was high. Time savings, decreased healthcare resource use and lower costs were reported as key advantages of the service. Inability to perform comprehensive examinations was noted as the primary barrier. In Australia, peak telehealth usage coincided with the introduction of temporary telehealth services and increased lockdown measures. CONCLUSIONS: Patients and providers are broadly satisfied with telehealth and its benefits. Barriers may be overcome via multidisciplinary collaboration. Telehealth may benefit surgical care long-term if implemented correctly both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Systematic Reviews as Topic
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4.
ANZ J Surg ; 91(6): 1059-1060, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266307
5.
ANZ J Surg ; 91(4): 495-506, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1114993

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long-term effects after COVID-19 may affect surgical safety. This study aimed to evaluate the literature and produce evidence-based guidance regarding the period of delay necessary for adequate recovery of patients following COVID-19 infection before undergoing surgery. METHODS: A rapid review was combined with advice from a working group of 10 clinical experts across Australia and New Zealand. MEDLINE, medRxiv and grey literature were searched to 4 October 2020. The level of evidence was stratified according to the National Health and Medical Research Council evidence hierarchy. RESULTS: A total of 1020 records were identified, from which 20 studies (12 peer-reviewed) were included. None were randomized trials. The studies comprised one case-control study (level III-2 evidence), one prospective cohort study (level III-2) and 18 case-series studies (level IV). Follow-up periods containing observable clinical characteristics ranged from 3 to 16 weeks. New or excessive fatigue and breathlessness were the most frequently reported symptoms. SARS-CoV-2 may impact the immune system for multiple months after laboratory confirmation of infection. For patients with past COVID-19 undergoing elective curative surgery for cancer, risks of pulmonary complications and mortality may be lowest at 4 weeks or later after a positive swab. CONCLUSION: After laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection, minor surgery should be delayed for at least 4 weeks and major surgery for 8-12 weeks, if patient outcome is not compromised. Comprehensive preoperative and ongoing assessment must be carried out to ensure optimal clinical decision-making.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Surgical Procedures, Operative , Adolescent , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Male , New Zealand/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
6.
ANZ J Surg ; 90(9): 1558-1565, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-737625

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, caused the COVID-19 global pandemic. In response, the Australian and New Zealand governments activated their respective emergency plans and hospital frameworks to deal with the potential increased demand on scarce resources. Surgical triage formed an important part of this response to protect the healthcare system's capacity to respond to COVID-19. METHOD: A rapid review methodology was adapted to search for all levels of evidence on triaging surgery during the current COVID-19 outbreak. Searches were limited to PubMed (inception to 10 April 2020) and supplemented with grey literature searches using the Google search engine. Further, relevant articles were also sourced through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons COVID-19 Working Group. Recent government advice (May 2020) is also included. RESULTS: This rapid review is a summary of advice from Australian, New Zealand and international speciality groups regarding triaging of surgical cases, as well as the peer-reviewed literature. The key theme across all jurisdictions was to not compromise clinical judgement and to enable individualized, ethical and patient-centred care. The topics reported on include implications of COVID-19 on surgical triage, competing demands on healthcare resources (surgery versus COVID-19 cases), and the low incidence of COVID-19 resulting in a possibility to increase surgical caseloads over time. CONCLUSION: During the COVID-19 pandemic, urgent and emergency surgery must continue. A carefully staged return of elective surgery should align with a decrease in COVID-19 caseload. Combining evidence and expert opinion, schemas and recommendations have been proposed to guide this process in Australia and New Zealand.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Elective Surgical Procedures/standards , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment/supply & distribution , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Triage/methods , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , New Zealand/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
7.
ANZ J Surg ; 90(10): 1845-1856, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696021

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Preoperative screening for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) aims to preserve surgical safety for both patients and surgical teams. This rapid review provides an evaluation of current evidence with input from clinical experts to produce guidance for screening for active COVID-19 in a low prevalence setting. METHODS: An initial search of PubMed (until 6 May 2020) was combined with targeted searches of both PubMed and Google Scholar until 1 July 2020. Findings were streamlined for clinical relevance through the advice of an expert working group that included seven senior surgeons and a senior medical virologist. RESULTS: Patient history should be examined for potential exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Hyposmia and hypogeusia may present as early symptoms of COVID-19, and can potentially discriminate from other influenza-like illnesses. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction is the gold standard diagnostic test to confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection, and although sensitivity can be improved with repeated testing, the decision to retest should incorporate clinical history and the local supply of diagnostic resources. At present, routine serological testing has little utility for diagnosing acute infection. To appropriately conduct preoperative testing, the temporal dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 must be considered. Relative to other thoracic imaging modalities, computed tomography has the greatest utility for characterizing pulmonary involvement in COVID-19 patients who have been diagnosed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. CONCLUSION: Through a rapid review of the literature and advice from a clinical expert working group, evidence-based recommendations have been produced for the preoperative screening of surgical patients with suspected COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Mass Screening , Preoperative Care/methods , Humans , Practice Guidelines as Topic
8.
ANZ J Surg ; 90(9): 1566-1572, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-647010

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Inconsistencies regarding the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) have raised concerns for the safety of surgical staff during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This rapid review synthesizes the literature and includes input from clinical experts to provide evidence-based guidance for surgical services. METHODS: The rapid review comprised of targeted searches in PubMed and grey literature. Pertinent findings were discussed by a working group of clinical experts, and consensus recommendations, consistent with Australian and New Zealand Government guidelines, were formulated. RESULTS: There was a paucity of high-quality primary studies specifically investigating appropriate surgical PPE for healthcare workers treating patients possibly infected with COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is capable of aerosol, droplet and fomite transmission, making it essential to augment standard infection control measures with appropriate PPE, especially during surgical emergencies and aerosol-generating procedures. All biological material should be treated a potential source of SARS-COV-2. Staff must have formal training in the use of PPE and should be supervised by a colleague during donning and doffing. Patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should wear a surgical mask during transfer to and from theatre. Potential solutions exist in the literature to extend the use of surgical P2/N95 respirators in situations of limited supply. CONCLUSION: PPE is advised for all high-risk procedures and when a patient's COVID-19 status is unknown. Surgical departments should facilitate staggered rostering, remote meeting attendance, and self-isolation of symptomatic staff. Vulnerable surgical staff should be identified and excluded from operations with a high risk of COVID-19 infection.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Health Personnel/standards , Infection Control/organization & administration , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , New Zealand/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment/supply & distribution , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
10.
ANZ J Surg ; 90(9): 1553-1557, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-621057

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has created a global pandemic. Surgical care has been impacted, with concerns raised around surgical safety, especially in terms of laparoscopic versus open surgery. Due to potential aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, precautions during aerosol-generating procedures and production of surgical plume are paramount for the safety of surgical teams. METHODS: A rapid review methodology was used with evidence sourced from PubMed, Departments of Health, surgical colleges and other health authorities. From this, a working group of expert surgeons developed recommendations for surgical safety in the current environment. RESULTS: Pre-operative testing of surgical patients with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction does not guarantee lack of infectivity due to a demonstrated false-negative rate of up to 30%. All bodily tissues and fluids should therefore be treated as a potential source of COVID-19 infection during operative management. Caution must be taken, especially when using an energy source that produces surgical plumes, and an appropriate capture device should also be used. Limiting the use of such devices or using lower energy devices is desirable. To reduce perceived risks association with desufflation of pneumoperitoneum during laparoscopic surgery, an appropriate suction irrigator system, attached to a high-efficiency particulate air filter, should be used. Additionally, appropriate use of personal protective equipment by the surgical team is necessary during high-risk aerosol-generating procedures. CONCLUSIONS: As a result of the rapid review, evidence-based guidance has been produced to support safe surgical practice.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment/supply & distribution , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Surgical Procedures, Operative/standards , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2
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