HPB surgery in the time of COVID

22 Sep, 2020


The pandemic resulting from the transmission of the SARS‐CoV‐2 to the human population has stressed every health care system in the world. The impact on the provision of surgical services has been profound and one of the first and ubiquitous responses was to cease all non‐essential surgical operating. HPB centres internationally have reported a reduction in the number of surgical resections and the adoption of non‐surgical management of pathologies that traditionally were treated surgically.

We report the experience from the University Hospitals of Leicester HPB unit for the 3 month period following the initiation of the COVID‐19 lockdown measures in the UK (23/03/20 to 23/06/20) and we compared the data with the same period in 2019. Only patients requiring surgical resection for malignant or suspected malignant HPB pathology are included.

Fifty‐seven major HPB resections or attempted resections were performed from 23/03/20 to 23/06/20 (Table 1). Over this period there was a 42·5% increase compared with 2019 and no significant differences in the length of hospital or ITU stays. The Clavien‐Dindo classification was used to grade complications and demonstrated no significant differences. Eight patients who developed respiratory symptoms following surgery were re‐swabbed and isolated. None of those swabs were positive and during the follow up period only one patient tested positive for COVID following discharge. That patient was admitted to our designated COVID ward and made a complete recovery.

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