COVID-19: impact on colorectal surgery.Colorectal Dis. 2020 06; 22(6):635-640.CD
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the medical and surgical healthcare systems. With the ongoing need for urgent and emergency colorectal surgery, including surgery for colorectal cancer, several questions pertaining to operating room (OR) utilization and techniques needed to be rapidly addressed.
This manuscript discusses knowledge related to the critical considerations of patient and caregiver safety relating to personal protective equipment (PPE) and the operating room environment.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required contingent upon local availability of COVID-19 testing and the incidence of known COVID-19 infection in the respective community. In addition to standard COVID-19 PPE precautions, a negative-pressure environment, including an OR, has been recommended, especially for the performance of aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs). Hospital spaces ranging from patient wards to ORs to endoscopy rooms have been successfully converted from standard positive-pressure to negative-pressure spaces. Another important consideration is the method of surgical access; specifically, minimally invasive surgery with pneumoperitoneum is an AGP and thus must be carefully considered. Current debate centres around whether it should be avoided in patients known to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 or whether it can be performed under precautions with safety measures in place to minimize exposure to aerosolized virus particles. Several important lessons learned from pressurized intraperitoneal aerosolized chemotherapy procedures are demonstrated to help improve our understanding and management.
This paper evaluates the issues surrounding these challenges including the OR environment and AGPs which are germane to surgical practices around the world. Although there is no single universally agreed upon set of answers, we have presented what we think is a balanced cogent description of logical safe approaches to colorectal surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.