ELSA recommendations for minimally invasive surgery during a community spread pandemic: a centered approach in Asia from widespread to recovery phases
Menon, Raj K.
So, Jimmy B. Y.
Özmen, Mehmet Mahir
Chiu, Philip W. Y.
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CitationShabbir, A., Menon, R. K., Somani, J., So, J. B., Ozman, M., Chiu, P. W., & Lomanto, D. (2020). ELSA recommendations for minimally invasive surgery during a community spread pandemic: a centered approach in Asia from widespread to recovery phases. Surgical Endoscopy, 1-6.
Background The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes to surgical practice across the worlds. Some countries are seeing a tailing down of cases, while others are still having persistent and sustained community spread. These evolving disease patterns call for a customized and dynamic approach to the selection, screening, planning, and for the conduct of surgery for these patients. Methods The current literature and various international society guidelines were reviewed and a set of recommendations were drafted. These were circulated to the Governors of the Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia (ELSA) for expert comments and discussion. The results of these were compiled and are presented in this paper. Results The recommendations include guidance for selection and screening of patients in times of active community spread, limited community spread, during times of sporadic cases or recovery and the transition between phases. Personal protective equipment requirements are also reviewed for each phase as minimum requirements. Capability management for the re-opening of services is also discussed. The choice between open and laparoscopic surgery is patient based, and the relative advantages of laparoscopic surgery with regard to complications, and respiratory recovery after major surgery has to be weighed against the lack of safety data for laparoscopic surgery in COVID-19 positive patients. We provide recommendations on the operating room set up and conduct of general surgery. If laparoscopic surgery is to be performed, we describe circuit modifications to assist in reducing plume generation and aerosolization. Conclusion The COVID-19 pandemic requires every surgical unit to have clear guidelines to ensure both patient and staff safety. These guidelines may assist in providing guidance to units developing their own protocols. A judicious approach must be adopted as surgical units look to re-open services as the pandemic evolves.