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Perioper Med (Lond) ; 11(1): 10, 2022 Mar 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745424


BACKGROUND: Many institutions withheld elective lists and triaged surgeries during the peak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result, older surgical patients have had to wait for rescheduled dates in a long waitlist. This study aimed to identify the psychological impact in these patients when they returned for surgery. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study which included 153 patients aged ≥ 65 years undergoing elective surgery. Trained interviewers recruited and assessed psychological status pre-operatively with two validated questionnaires - Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36). Specific questions were asked about their postponed surgeries, appetite and fear. RESULTS: A total of 36 out of 153 (23.5%) patients had their procedures deferred during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Postponed cases were significantly based on the nature of surgery (p = 0.002), cancer diagnosis (p = 0.006) and surgical specialty (p = 0.023). Median HADS scores were higher for patients who were postponed (2.00 versus 4.00 for anxiety, p = 0.180 and 0.00 versus 1.00 for depression, p = 0.424) although no statistical significance was shown. In the whole study population, anxiety was a significant predictor for depression and vice versa (p < 0.001) with other predictive risk factors for anxiety that were age ≥ 85 years old (odds ratio [OR] 6.14, p = 0.018), female (OR 2.41, p = 0.024), cancer (OR 2.19, p = 0.039) and major surgery (OR 2.39, p = 0.023). Similarly, older patients ≥ 85 years old (OR 10.44, p = 0.003) and female (OR 6.07, p = 0.006) had higher risk for depression. Both anxiety and depression were significant risks for loss of appetite (p = 0.005 and 0.001). Lastly, the fear of disease progression due to rescheduling was more frequent in cancer patients (p = 0.035). CONCLUSION: The mental health and disease burden of older surgical patients should be taken into careful consideration when cases need to be postponed in our healthcare system.