Ramping Up the Delivery of Cardiac Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Guidance Statement From the Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a profound global effect. Its rapid transmissibility has forced whole countries to adopt strict measures to contain its spread. As part of necessary pandemic planning, most Canadian cardiac surgical programs have prioritized and delayed elective procedures in an effort to reduce the burden on the health care system and to mobilize resources in the event of a pandemic surge. While the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase worldwide, new cases have begun to decline in many jurisdictions. This "flattening of the curve" has inevitably prompted discussions around reopening of the economy, relaxing some public health restrictions, and resuming nonurgent health care delivery. This document provides a template for cardiac surgical programs to begin to ramp-up the delivery of cardiac surgery in a deliberate and graded fashion as the COVID-19 pandemic burden begins to ease that is guided by 3 principles. First, all recommendations from public health authorities regarding COVID-19 containment must continue to be followed to minimize disease spread, ensure patient safety, and protect health care personnel. Second, patients awaiting elective cardiac surgery need to be proactively managed, reprioritizing those with high-risk anatomy or whose clinical status is deteriorating. Finally, case volumes should be steadily increased in a mutually agreed upon fashion and must balance the clinical needs of patients awaiting surgery against the overall requirements of the health care system.
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