To determine the risk of acquiring perioperative COVID-19 infection in previously COVID-19 negative patients.
Summary of Background Data:
During the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was significant concern of hospital acquired COVID-19 infections. Medical centers rapidly implemented systems to minimize perioperative transmission, including routine preoperative testing, patient isolation, and enhanced cleaning.
In this retrospective cohort study, medical records of all adult patients who underwent surgery at our quaternary, acute care hospital between March 15 and May 15, 2020 were reviewed. The risk of preoperatively negative patients developing symptomatic COVID-19 within 2–14 days postoperatively was determined. Surgical characteristics, outcomes, and complications were compared between those with and without acquired perioperative COVID-19 infection.
Among 501 negative patients undergoing index surgeries, 9 (1.8%) developed symptomatic COVID-19 in the postoperative period; all occurred before implementation of routine preoperative testing [9/243, 3.7% vs 0/258, 0%, odds ratio (OR): 0.048, P = 0.036]. No patient who was polymerase-chain-reaction negative on the day of surgery (n = 170) developed postoperative infection. Perioperative infection was associated with preoperative diabetes (OR: 3.70, P = 0.042), cardiovascular disease (OR: 3.69, P = 0.043), angiotensin receptor blocker use (OR: 6.58, P = 0.004), and transplant surgery (OR: 11.00, P = 0.002), and multiple complications, readmission (OR: 5.50, P = 0.029) and death (OR: 12.81, P = 0.001).
During the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was minimal risk of acquiring symptomatic perioperative COVID-19 infection, especially after the implementation of routine preoperative testing. However, perioperative COVID-19 infection was associated with poor postoperative outcome.