The requirement for surgery and subsequent 30-day mortality in patients with COVID-19

The requirement for surgery and subsequent 30-day mortality in patients with COVID-19

Can J Surg 2021;64(2):E246-E248 | PDF

Blayne Welk, MD, MSc; Lucie Richard, MSc; Sebastian Rodriguez-Elizalde, MD, MHSc


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on the provision of surgical care. The potential perioperative mortality associated with surgical procedures in patients with COVID-19 has been estimated at 20%, but the data come from jurisdictions that experienced very high surges of COVID-19 patients. A rapid assessment of the types of surgical care for patients with COVID-19 in Ontario was carried out using administrative data, and we found that during the initial wave in the spring of 2020, surgical interventions were required in 0.6% of patients with COVID-19, and mortality was higher (20%) in patients who underwent surgery in the 2 weeks before or after a positive nasopharygeal swab than in those who had surgery more than 2 weeks after COVID-19 was diagnosed.

Accepted February 4, 2021

Acknowledgements: This work was supported by a grant from the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation’s Health Crisis Fund. The study was supported by ICES Western. ICES is funded by an annual grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). Core funding for ICES Western is provided by the Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario (AMOSO), the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry (SSMD), Western University, and the Lawson Health Research Institute (LHRI). The opinions, results and conclusions are those of the authors and are independent from the funding sources. No endorsement by ICES, AMOSO, SSMD, LHRI, or the MOHLTC is intended or should be inferred. Parts of this material are based on data and/or information compiled and provided by CIHI. However, the analyses, conclusions, opinions and statements expressed in the material are those of the author(s), and not necessarily those of CIHI.

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery & Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Western University, London, Ont. (Welk); ICES Western, London, Ont. (Welk, Richard); and the Department of Surgery, Humber River Hospital, Toronto, Ont. (Rodriguez-Elizalde).

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this article and approved the final version for publication.

Content licence: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence, which p rmits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original publication is properly cited, the use is noncommercial (i.e., research or educational se), and no modifications or adaptations are made. See:

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.022020

Correspondence to: B. Welk, Department of Surgery and Epidemiology, & Biostatistics, Western University, Room B4-667, St Joseph’s Health Care, 268 Grosvenor St, London ON N6A 4V2,