Journal Articles

Publication Date



Journal of Clinical Anesthesia


BACKGROUND: The effect of COVID-19 infection on post-operative mortality and the optimal timing to perform ambulatory surgery from diagnosis date remains unclear in this population. Our study was to determine whether a history of COVID-19 diagnosis leads to a higher risk of all-cause mortality following ambulatory surgery.

METHODS: This cohort constitutes retrospective data obtained from the Optum dataset containing 44,976 US adults who were tested for COVID-19 up to 6 months before surgery and underwent ambulatory surgery between March 2020 to March 2021. The primary outcome was the risk of all-cause mortality between the COVID-19 positive and negative patients grouped according to the time interval from COVID-19 testing to ambulatory surgery, called the Testing to Surgery Interval Mortality (TSIM) of up to 6 months. Secondary outcome included determining all-cause mortality (TSIM) in time intervals of 0-15 days, 16-30 days, 31-45 days, and 46-180 days in COVID-19 positive and negative patients.

RESULTS: 44,934 patients (4297 COVID-19 positive, 40,637 COVID-19 negative) were included in our analysis. COVID-19 positive patients undergoing ambulatory surgery had higher risk of all-cause mortality compared to COVID-19 negative patients (OR = 2.51, p < 0.001). The increased risk of mortality in COVID-19 positive patients remained high amongst patients who had surgery 0-45 days from date of COVID-19 testing. In addition, COVID-19 positive patients who underwent colonoscopy (OR = 0.21, p = 0.01) and plastic and orthopedic surgery (OR = 0.27, p = 0.01) had lower mortality than those underwent other surgeries.

CONCLUSIONS: A COVID-19 positive diagnosis is associated with significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality following ambulatory surgery. This mortality risk is greatest in patients that undergo ambulatory surgery within 45 days of testing positive for COVID-19. Postponing elective ambulatory surgeries in patients that test positive for COVID-19 infection within 45 days of surgery date should be considered, although prospective studies are needed to assess this.


Adult, Humans, COVID-19, Ambulatory Surgical Procedures, COVID-19 Testing, Retrospective Studies

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