CHICAGO – All patients undergoing non-emergency surgeries or procedures should continue to have preoperative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for SARS-CoV-2, irrespective of vaccination status, according to an updated guidance from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation.
The statement notes, with the prevalence of the Delta variant driving an increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and the recent findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated individuals, a robust perioperative screening and testing program to detect SARS-CoV-2 is essential for the safety of patients, health care workers and the general public.
“Considering the ongoing and evolving pandemic, all patients undergoing an anesthetic, procedure, or surgery with the potential to generate aerosols should continue to have preoperative testing for SARS-CoV-2, ideally within three days prior to the procedure,” said ASA President Beverly K. Philip, M.D., FACA, FASA. “This is a critical safety measure, considering that fully vaccinated individuals, symptomatic or asymptomatic, have the potential to transmit the virus. The updated joint guidance on testing and screening will help surgeons and proceduralists, working together with physician anesthesiologists, to better evaluate and schedule patients."
Recently, ASA and APSF surveyed a group of leading medical centers and others to learn how their testing protocols might have evolved through July 2021, with specific attention to their approach to preoperative testing for patients who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. In almost all cases, these institutions continue to require COVID preoperative testing for all patients, including those who have been fully vaccinated.
Additionally, the statement recommends that when there is risk of local or regional community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, all patients, including those who have been fully vaccinated, should be screened for symptoms prior to presenting to the health care facility. Patients reporting symptoms should be referred for additional evaluation. All other patients should undergo nucleic acid amplification testing (e.g., PCR tests) prior to undergoing non-emergent surgery. If a patient tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, elective surgical procedures should be delayed until the patient is no longer infectious and has demonstrated recovery from COVID-19.
Read the complete, updated statement “ASA and APSF Statement on Perioperative Testing for the COVID-19 Virus,” here.
Access all of ASA’s statements, resources, and recommendations on COVID-19 here.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/madeforthismoment. Like ASA on Facebook and follow ASALifeline on Twitter.
ABOUT THE ANESTHESIA PATIENT SAFETY FOUNDATION
Founded in 1985, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) promotes research of perioperative patient safety issues, supports the development of careers in patient safety, provides patient safety educational materials and communications to all anesthesia providers, and advocates for changes in clinical practices that improve patient safety. The APSF’s goal is that no one shall be harmed by anesthesia care. The APSF is a related organization of ASA. APSF provides support for research and education in perioperative patient safety. Its past initiatives have resulted in significant contributions to the field of anesthesia patient safety. APSF has distributed over $12 million in funding for anesthesia patient safety research projects over its 30+ year history. For more information on APSF or to donate, please visit www.apsf.org.
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