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ORIGINAL ARTICLE   Free accessfree

Minerva Chirurgica 2020 October;75(5):320-7

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4733.20.08466-7


lingua: Inglese

The management of “fragile” and suspected COVID-19 surgical patients during pandemic: an Italian single-center experience

Andrea ROMANZI 1 , Rossella MORONI 2, Erica RONGONI 2, Roberta SCOLARO 1, Davide LA REGINA 3, Francesco MONGELLI 3, Antonella PUTORTÌ 1, Fabrizio ROSSI 1, Michel ZANARDO 1, Alberto VANNELLI 1

1 Department of General Surgery, Valduce Hospital, Como, Italy; 2 Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Valduce Hospital, Como, Italy; 3 Department of General Surgery, Regional Hospital of Bellinzona and Valli, Bellinzona, Switzerland

BACKGROUND: During Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic entire countries rapidly ran out of intensive care beds, occupied by critically ill infected patients. Elective surgery was initially halted and acute non-deferrable surgical care drastically limited. The presence of COVID-19 patients into intensive care units (ICU) is currently decreasing but their congestion have restricted our therapeutic strategies during the last months.
METHODS: In the COVID-19 era eighteen patients (8 men, 10 women) with a mean age of 80 years, needing undelayable abdominal surgery underwent awake open surgery at our Department. Prior to surgery, all patients underwent COVID-19 investigation. In all cases locoregional anesthesia (LA) was performed. Intraoperative and postoperative pain has been monitored and regularly assessed. A distinct pathway has been set up to keep patients of uncertain COVID-19 diagnosis separated from all other patients.
RESULTS: Mean operative time was 104 minutes. In only one case conversion to general anesthesia was necessary. Postoperative pain was always well controlled. None of them required postoperative intensive care support. Only one perioperative complication occurred. Early readmissions after surgery were never observed.
CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of our experience awake laparotomy under LA resulted feasible, safe, painless and, in specific cases, the only viable option. For patients presenting fragile cardiovascular and respiratory, reserves and in whom general anesthesia (GA) would presumably increase morbidity and mortality we encourage LA as an alternative to GA. In the COVID-19 era, it has become part of our ICU-preserving strategy allowing us to carry out undeferrable surgeries.

KEY WORDS: Laparotomy; Anesthesia, epidural; Coronavirus

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