Objective: The delays in elective surgery caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have resulted in a substantial backlog of cases. In the present study, we sought to determine the estimated time to recovery for vascular surgery procedures delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic in a regional health system.
Methods: Using data from a 35-hospital regional vascular surgical collaborative consisting of all hospitals performing vascular surgery in the state of Michigan, we estimated the number of delayed surgical cases for adults undergoing carotid endarterectomy, carotid stenting, endovascular and open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, and lower extremity bypass. We used seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average models to predict the surgical volume in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and historical data to predict the elective surgical recovery time.
Results: The median statewide monthly vascular surgical volume for the study period was 439 procedures, with a maximum statewide monthly case volume of 519 procedures. For the month of April 2020, the elective vascular surgery procedural volume decreased by ∼90%. Significant variability was seen in the estimated hospital capacity and estimated number of backlogged cases, with the recovery of elective cases estimated to require ∼8 months. If hospitals across the collaborative were to share the burden of backlogged cases, the recovery could be shortened to ∼3 months.
Conclusions: In the present study of vascular surgical volume in a regional health collaborative, elective surgical procedures decreased by 90%, resulting in a backlog of >700 cases. The recovery time if all hospitals in the collaborative were to share the burden of backlogged cases would be reduced from 8 months to 3 months, underscoring the necessity of regional and statewide policies to minimize patient harm by delays in recovery for elective surgery.
Keywords: COVID-19; Elective surgery; Health system.
Copyright © 2020 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.