Surgery Feasible Soon After COVID-19 for Vaccinated Patients

No increased risk for perioperative complications seen for fully vaccinated patients, surgery without general anesthesia

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FRIDAY, Aug. 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Fully vaccinated patients or those undergoing surgery without general anesthesia do not have increased risks for perioperative complications with surgery shortly following COVID-19 infection, according to a study published online July 15 in the Annals of Surgery.

Sidney T. Le, M.D., from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 228,913 patients who underwent scheduled surgery from Jan. 1, 2018, to Feb. 28, 2022. Patients were classified by time of surgery relative to COVID-19 test positivity: early post-COVID-19 (zero to four weeks after COVID-19), mid-post-COVID-19 (four to eight weeks), late-post-COVID-19 (more than eight weeks), pre-COVID-19 (surgery at least 30 days before infection), and surgery with no prior or subsequent test positivity for COVID-19.

The researchers found that the adjusted rate of perioperative complications was significantly higher for the early post-COVID-19 group than the pre-COVID-19 group among patients who were not fully vaccinated at the time of infection (relative risk, 1.55). For patients who were fully vaccinated and for those who were not fully vaccinated and underwent surgery without general anesthesia, there was no increased risk identified.

"Provided infection prevention considerations have been satisfied, these data suggest that scheduled surgical interventions can proceed without delay following COVID-19 infection among fully vaccinated patients or among not fully vaccinated patients for whom general anesthesia can be avoided," the authors write.

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