American College of Surgeons releases new clinical guidance document for elective surgical case triage during COVID-19

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The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has issued 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 “COVID-19: Elective case triage guidelines for surgical care,” a new surgical triage document that was developed following expert review in several specialties and provides trusted information from the most current best evidence available in a number of areas, including vascular surgery.

These triage recommendations should be used in conjunction with a joint statement ACS has developed with the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN). It recommends 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 decisions of Surgical Review Committees be made on a daily basis—no later than the day before an operation—and should include a multidisciplinary leadership team representing surgery, anaesthesiology and nursing.

“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,” said ACS executive director David B Hoyt.

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