This week, the American College of Surgeons issued guidelines on triage of patients undergoing elective cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, hospital leadership and individual providers are facing increasingly difficult decisions about how to conserve critical resources, such as hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) beds, respirators, and transfusion capacity, as well as protective gear (PPE) that is vital for protecting patients and staff from unnecessary exposure and intrahospital transmission. While nothing will replace sound medical judgement and local adjudication, it has generally been advised that hospitals discontinue elective surgery, and guidance on the triage of nonemergent surgical procedures during the pandemic is available. Guidance on the triage of elective surgery is based on an Elective Surgery Acuity Scale provided by Sameer Siddiqui, MD, FACS, of St. Louis University.
Triage guidelines contained herewith add another level of specificity on triage of elective cancer surgery patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information is intended to help institutions and providers who are facing a rising burden of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and a higher prevalence of community infection. Not all cancer conditions can be outlined; this document will focus on how to manage the more common cancer types during the pandemic.
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