Ivert T, Dalén M
J Cardiothorac Surg 17 (1) 201 [2022-08-24; online 2022-08-24]
The aim was to analyze routine preoperative testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) performed to avoid infected cardiac surgical patients transmitting virus during the pandemic. Every patient scheduled to undergo cardiac surgery from March 2020 through December 2021 had preoperative polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 by nasopharynx swabs. Any history of COVID-19 was recorded. In 15 of 1870 patients (0.8%) with minimal or no airway symptoms unexpected positive PCR tests were detected, and surgery was deferred for two weeks. Totally 38 patients with negative tests had recovered without sequelae from previous COVID-19 a mean of 5 months before the operation. Sixteen patients (0.8%) developed airway symptoms within six weeks after the operation and had positive COVID-19 tests. Body Mass Index was higher and female gender, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction were more common in patients with than in those without COVID-19. Early postoperative outcomes did not differ significantly in patients with versus without COVID-19. An unexpected preoperative positive COVID-19 test was detected in less than one percent of patients admitted for cardiac surgery during the pandemic. These operations were deferred to avoid transmission of virus in the hospital. Additionally, one percent of patients were diagnosed with positive COVID-19 tests within six weeks after the operation. There was no outbreak of COVID-19 among hospital staff or patients. All patients with COVID-19 before the operation were operated on safely and postoperative outcomes did not differ significantly compared with COVID-19 negative patients.