Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 – A Review for Surgeons

17 Apr, 2020

The concept of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the surgeon has been in place for greater than 100 years. The aim has been to protect both the surgeon and the patient. However, as zoonotic respiratory pathogens emerge, surgeons and their teams will need to adapt quickly to what will adequately protect them and their patients. There has been a generalized call for more personal protective equipment (PPE), however, there is a wide array of PPE available. High quality evidence related to the epidemiology of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is rapidly evolving, therefore, inferences based on existing data will need to be made to make decisions moving forward. Physicians need to be knowledgeable about transmission of the virus, as well as the capabilities and limitations of their respective PPE. This review aims to address both the mechanism of the contagion and the capabilities of PPE in the perioperative setting in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic.