The PREDICT study aimed to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic affected surgical services and surgical patients and to identify predictors of outcomes in this cohort.
High mortality rates were reported for surgical patients with COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic. However, the indirect impact of the pandemic on this cohort is not understood, and risk predictors are yet to be identified.
PREDICT is an international longitudinal cohort study comprising surgical patients presenting to hospital between March and August 2020, conducted alongside a survey of staff redeployment and departmental restructuring. A subgroup analysis of 3176 adult emergency patients, recruited by 55 teams across 18 countries is presented.
Among adult emergency surgical patients, all-cause in-hospital mortality (IHM) was 3 6%, compared to 15 5% for those with COVID-19. However, only 14 1% received a COVID-19 test on admission in March, increasing to 76 5% by July.
Higher Clinical Frailty Scale scores (CFS >7 aOR 18 87), ASA grade above 2 (aOR 4 29), and COVID-19 infection (aOR 5 12) were independently associated with significantly increased IHM.
The peak months of the first wave were independently associated with significantly higher IHM (March aOR 4 34; April aOR 4 25; May aOR 3 97), compared to non-peak months.
During the study, UK operating theatre capacity decreased by a mean of 63 6% with a concomitant 27 3% reduction in surgical staffing.
The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted surgical patients, both directly through co-morbid infection and indirectly as shown by increasing mortality in peak months, irrespective of COVID-19 status.
Higher CFS scores and ASA grades strongly predict outcomes in surgical patients and are an important risk assessment tool during the pandemic.