March 25, 2020
American College of Surgeons Releases Clinical Guidance for Elective Surgical Case Triage During COVID-19 Outbreak
March 25, 2020—The American College of Surgeons (ACS) announced continued guidance for surgeons to curtail recommendations for elective surgical procedures to preserve the necessary resources for care of critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist in surgical decision-making in curtailing cases, ACS has released a new surgical triage document, “COVID-19: Elective Case Triage Guidelines for Surgical Care,” which was developed after expert review in several specialties and provides trusted information from the most current best evidence available in 14 practice areas, which include vascular surgery (here) and neurosurgery (here).
According to the ACS, these triage recommendations should be used in conjunction with a joint statement that ACS has developed with the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) recommending medical centers develop a surgical review committee to act as an administrative body to provide defined, transparent, and responsive oversight for triaging surgical cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ACS, ASA, and AORN recommend that decisions of the surgical review committee regarding surgical cases be made on a daily basis, no later than the day before an operation, and should include a multidisciplinary leadership team representing surgery, anesthesiology, and nursing.
ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, commented in the announcement, “These triage guidelines and joint recommendations are being issued as we appear to be entering a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic with more hospitals facing a potential push beyond their resources to care for critically ill patients. ACS will continue to monitor the landscape for surgical care, but we feel this guidance document provides a sound foundation for surgeons to begin enacting these triage recommendations today to help them make the best decisions possible for their patients during COVID-19.”