UK experts have issued an update on the timing of elective surgery and risk assessment after COVID-19 infection. Your operation may be delayed if you test positive for Covid-19.
Studies of people who had COVID-19 just before or after their surgery show that they had more complications and an increased risk of dying. The risks of chest problems, blood clots or death are about 3 or 4 times greater for a full 7 weeks following COVID-19. These risks are increased even if the patient had no symptoms from COVID-19 (i.e. just a positive test).
The latest expert guidance on routine operations recommends:
Within 10 days of your planned surgery date
If you have a positive test, or COVID-19 symptoms, elective surgery should not take place because you may be infectious to others (as well as risks to you).
Between 10 days and 7 weeks before your planned operation date
Reduce your risks of catching COVID-19. If meeting people, consider social distancing, wearing a facemask, opening windows or meeting outdoors. If you test positive or have COVID-19 symptoms:
- You MUST inform your surgical team.
- Elective surgery may need to be delayed.
- Your health professional may undertake a risk assessment with you to decide whether the risks of delaying are worse than the risks of problems with surgery and COVID-19.
At any time before surgery
Please ensure you stay healthy and prepare for surgery:
- Ensure you have had a full course of vaccinations including a 3rd dose/booster. Vaccination reduces the chance of getting COVID-19 and of spreading it as well as reducing the severity of the illness if you get it.
- Regular exercise, nutrition and stopping smoking reduce complications from surgery by 30–80%.
There is more information here: www.cpoc.org.uk/patients
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