What is it about?

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the smooth functioning of healthcare systems. When the pandemic began, medical resources had to be diverted to COVID-19 treatment because the healthcare system was not able to cope with the high number of cases. This led to cancelations or delays of other medical procedures. The authors of this study researched how canceled elective procedures affected patients in the short-term. They found that patients whose elective procedures were canceled were not more likely to visit the emergency department in the short-term. The short term is defined here as up to three months after the planned date for their procedure. They also found that these patients did not have a higher risk of dying. However, the authors were keen to stress that this does not tell us anything about the long-term effects of canceled elective surgeries on patients.

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Why is it important?

Many types of medical procedures are classified as “elective.” But this does not mean that they are optional. Many of them are important to the quality of life of patients. Delaying or canceling elective procedures can have physical, psychological, and economic effects on patients. It can also lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment, causing some diseases to progress. But in worldwide emergencies like COVID-19, it is sometimes essential to divert medical resources. Scientists predict that there will be more pandemics in the future. It is important to learn how canceling elective procedures will affect the lives of patients. KEY TAKEAWAY: The study found that patients are not likely to be affected by canceled elective procedures in the short-term. It is important to see how canceled procedures will affect people in the long-term. Doing this will help us better plan the distribution of medical resources in future pandemics.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Short-term Effects of Canceled Elective Procedures Due to COVID-19, Annals of Surgery, February 2021, Wolters Kluwer Health, DOI: 10.1097/sla.0000000000004809.
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