COVID-19: Guidance for Triage of Non-Emergent Surgical Proce
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In response to the rapidly evolving challenges faced by hospitals related to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, and broad calls to curtail “elective” surgical procedures, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) provides the following guidance on the management of non-emergent operations.

Given the uncertainty regarding the impact of COVID-19 over the next many months, delaying some cases risks having them reappear as more severe emergencies at a time when they will be less easily handled. Following a careful review of the situation, the American College of Surgeons recommends the following:

Hospitals and surgery centers should consider both their patients’ medical needs, and their logistical capability to meet those needs, in real-time.

The medical need for a given procedure should be established by a surgeon with direct expertise in the relevant surgical specialty to determine what medical risks will be incurred by case delay.

Logistical feasibility for a given procedure should be determined by administrative personnel with an understanding of hospital and community limitations, taking into consideration facility resources (beds, staff, equipment, supplies, etc.) and provider and community safety and well-being.

Case conduct should be determined based on a merger of these assessments using contemporary knowledge of the evolving national, local and regional conditions, recognizing that marked regional variation may lead to significant differences in regional decision-making.

The risk to the patient should include an aggregate assessment of the real risk of the proceeding and the real risk of delay, including the expectation that a delay of 6-8 weeks or more may be required to emerge from an environment in which COVID-19 is less prevalent.

In general, a day-by-day, data-driven assessment of the changing risk-benefit analysis will need to influence clinical care delivery for the foreseeable future. Plans for case triage should avoid blanket policies and instead rely on data and expert opinion from qualified clinicians and administrators, with a site-specific granular understanding of the medical and logistical issues in play. Finally, although COVID-19 is a clear risk to all, it is but one of many competing risks for patients requiring surgical care. Thus, surgical procedures should be considered not based solely on COVID-associated risks, but rather on an assimilation of all available medical and logistical informationTo further assist in the surgical decision-making process to triage non-emergent operations, ACS suggests that surgeons look at the Elective Surgery Acuity Scale (ESAS) from St. Louis University.

This list is a brief compilation of some of the key recommendations included in the Guideline and is not exhaustive and does not constitute medical advice.

Kindly refer to the original publication here: https://www.facs.org/about-acs/covid-19/information-for-surgeons/triage
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