Background and purpose: The spread of COVID-19 has restricted the delivery of standard medical care to surgical patients dramatically. Surgical triage is performed by considering the type of disease, its severity, the urgency for surgery, and the condition of the patient, in addition to the scale of infectious outbreaks in the region. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the number of surgical procedures performed and whether the effects were more prominent during certain periods of widespread infection and in the affected regions. Methods: We selected 20 of the most common procedures from each surgical field and compared the weekly numbers of each operation performed in 2020 with the respective numbers in 2018 and 2019, as recorded in the National Clinical Database (NCD). The surgical status during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the relationship between surgical volume and the degree of regional infection were analyzed extensively. Results: The rate of decline in surgery was at most 10–15%. Although the numbers of most oncological and cardiovascular procedures decreased in 2020, there was no significant change in the numbers of pancreaticoduodenectomy and aortic replacement procedures performed in the same period. Conclusion: The numbers of most surgical procedures decreased in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the precise impact of surgical triage on decrease in detection of disease warrants further investigation.
- National clinical database
- Surgical triage