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Practice Guideline
. 2020 May;137(3):161-166.
doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2020.04.012. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

COVID-19 and ENT Surgery

Free PMC article
Practice Guideline

COVID-19 and ENT Surgery

V Couloigner et al. Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. .
Free PMC article


In Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, clinical examination and invasive procedures on the respiratory tract and on airway-connected cavities, such as paranasal sinuses and the middle ear, expose people to direct transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by inhalation or ocular projection of contaminated droplets, and to indirect transmission by contact with contaminated hands, objects or surfaces. Estimating an R0 of COVID-19 at around 3 justified postponing non-urgent face-to-face consultations and expanding the use of teleconsultation in order to limit the risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection of patients or health workers and comply with the lockdown. The health authority recommends cancellation of all medical or surgical activities, which are not urgent as long as this does not involve a loss of chance for the patient. The purpose of this cancellation is to significantly increase critical care capacity, prioritise the reception of patients with COVID-19, prioritise the allocation of staff and provision of the equipment necessary for their medical or surgical management, and contribute to the smooth running of downstream critical care within their establishment. Another goal is to reduce the risks of patient contamination within healthcare facilities. This document provides guidance on how to proceed with and adapt ENT surgery in the current pandemic context, as well as on the management of postponed operations. This best practice advice must of course be adapted in each region according to the development of the epidemic and pre-existing arrangements. Their local application can only be decided within the framework of collaboration between the ENT teams, the operational hygiene units and all the other specialties concerned.

Keywords: COVID-19; Droplet-based transmission; Infectious disease; Personal protective equipment (PPE); SARS-CoV-2.

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