Infection control of COVID-19 in operating theaters in a designated hospital for specified infectious diseases in Japan

Glob Health Med. 2022 Dec 31;4(6):332-335. doi: 10.35772/ghm.2022.01042.


At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many hospitals around the world recommended stopping elective surgery as a precaution to stop the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The number of elective surgeries was reduced in Japan due to several waves of the pandemic. This work describes the management of COVID-19 and actual polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening in operating theaters at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM), a designated hospital for specified infectious diseases in Japan. The following three steps for COVID-19 infection control were taken to maintain the operating theater: i) Do not bring COVID-19 into the operating theater, ii) Infection control for all medical staff, and iii) Surgical management of surgical patients with COVID-19. We introduced checklists for surgical patients, simulations of surgery on infected patients, screening PCR tests for all surgical patients, and use of a negative pressure room for infective or suspected cases. We determined the flow and timing of surgery for patients with COVID-19. However, many aspects of COVID-19 infection control measures in the operating theater are still unclear. Therefore, infection control measures require further advances in the future to manage new infections.

Keywords: COVID-19; PCR screening; operating theater; surgery.