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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
Ann Surg Oncol ; 28(9): 4805-4813, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1172853


BACKGROUND: Many hospitals postponed elective surgical care during the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Some centers continued elective surgery, including esophageal cancer surgery, with the use of preoperative screening methods; however, there is no evidence supporting the safety of this strategy as postoperative outcomes after esophageal cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic have not yet been investigated. METHODS: This multicenter study in four European tertiary esophageal cancer referral centers included consecutive adult patients undergoing elective esophageal cancer surgery from a prospectively maintained database in a COVID-19 pandemic cohort (1 March 2020-31 May 2020) and a control cohort (1 October 2019-29 February 2020). The primary outcome was the rate of respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. RESULTS: The COVID-19 cohort consisted of 139 patients, versus 168 patients in the control cohort. There was no difference in the rate of respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation (13.7% vs. 8.3%, p = 0.127) and number of pulmonary complications (32.4% vs. 29.9%, p = 0.646) between the COVID-19 cohort and the control cohort. Overall, postoperative morbidity and mortality rates were comparable between both cohorts. History taking and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used as preoperative screening methods to detect a possible severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in all centers. No patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 pre- or postoperatively. CONCLUSION: Esophageal cancer surgery during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was not associated with an increase in pulmonary complications as no patients were diagnosed with COVID-19. Esophageal cancer surgery can be performed safely with the use of adequate preoperative SARS-CoV-2 screening methods.

COVID-19 , Esophageal Neoplasms , Adult , Esophageal Neoplasms/epidemiology , Esophageal Neoplasms/surgery , Humans , Pandemics , Postoperative Complications/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2