Emergency surgical workflow and experience of suspected cases of COVID-19: A case report.World J Clin Cases. 2020 Nov 06; 8(21):5361-5370.WJ
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has been confirmed to be a newly discovered zoonotic pathogen that causes highly contagious viral pneumonia, which the World Health Organization has named novel coronavirus pneumonia. Since its outbreak, it has become a global pandemic. During the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), however, there is no mature experience or guidance on how to carry out emergency surgery for suspected cases requiring emergency surgical intervention and perioperative safety protection against virus.
A 41-year-old man was admitted to the hospital for emergency treatment due to "3-d abdominal pain aggravated with cessation of exhaust and defecation". After improving inspections and laboratory tests, the patient was assessed and diagnosed by the multiple discipline team as "strangulation obstruction, pulmonary infection". His body temperature was 38.8 °C, and the chest computed tomography showed pulmonary infection. Given fever and pneumonia, we could not rule out COVID-19 after consultation by fever clinicians and respiratory experts. Hence, we performed emergency surgery under three-level protection for the suspected case. After surgery, his nucleic acid test for COVID-19 was negative, meaning COVID-19 was excluded, and routine postoperative treatment and nursing was followed. The patient was treated with symptomatic support after the operation. The stomach tube and urinary tube were removed on the 1st d after the operation. The clearing diet was started on the 3rd d after the operation, and the body temperature returned to normal. Flatus and bowel movements were noted on 5th postoperative day. He was discharged after 8 d of hospitalization. The patient was followed up for 4 mo after discharge, no serious complications occurred. A 71-year-old woman was admitted to our emergency room due to "abdominal distention, fatigue for 6 d and fever for 13 h". After the multiple discipline team evaluation, the patient was diagnosed as "intestinal obstruction, abdominal mass, peritonitis and pulmonary infection". At that time, the patient's body temperature was 39.6 °C, and chest computed tomography indicated pulmonary infection. COVID-19 could not be completely excluded after consultation in the fever outpatient department and respiratory department. Therefore, the patient was treated as a suspected case, and an urgent operation was performed under three-level medical protection. Postoperative nucleic acid test was negative, COVID-19 was excluded, and routine postoperative treatment and nursing were followed. After the operation, the patient received symptomatic and supportive treatment. The gastric tube was removed on the 1st d after the operation, and the urinary tube was removed on the 3rd d after the operation. Enteral nutrition began on the 3rd d after the operation. To date, no serious complications have been found during follow-up after discharge.
Based on the previous treatment experience, we reviewed the procedures of two cases of suspected COVID-19 emergency surgery and extracted the perioperative protection experience. By referring to the literature and following the regulations on prevention and management of infectious diseases, we have developed a relatively mature and complete emergency surgical workflow for suspected COVID-19 cases and shared perioperative protection and management experience and measures.