Assessing Patient Readiness for Elective Surgery Following COVID-19

Guidance published by Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) scientists outlines a preoperative protocol for surgical care teams to evaluate the readiness of previously COVID-positive patients for elective procedures. Given the high risk of complications following a COVID-19 infection, the framework uses a multidisciplinary approach to ensure non-urgent surgery is safe for these patients and includes an assessment of the following: clinical recovery from virus, functional status, respiratory status and imaging and laboratory data.

As summarized by Science Daily, the recommendations include, but are not limited to:

  • Recovery time of a minimum of four weeks from the initial COVID-positive test for patients who were asymptomatic and six to eight weeks for those who were more seriously ill;  
  • Evaluation of a patient’s history and a physical assessment to determine whether the patient has returned to their “pre-COVID” baseline health and identification of any potential complications; and
  • Objective diagnostic testing based on a patient’s age, severity of symptoms, potential degree of complication(s) of the procedure and the need for general anesthesia.

The protocol is not applicable to patients experiencing post-COVID syndrome.

MLMIC encourages all physician policyholders to carefully evaluate patients with a history of COVID-19 infection prior to proceeding with any elective surgeries. Consultations with subspecialists should be utilized as necessary to ensure the patient’s clinical condition is stable.    

Policyholders are encouraged to visit our dedicated resource page for ongoing guidance related to care delivery during the pandemic.