Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2021; 69(03): 252-258
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1718938
Original Thoracic

Thoracic Surgery during Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): The Experience of a Level 1 Trauma Center

1   Department of Thoracic Surgery, St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
Gowthanan Santhirakumaran
1   Department of Thoracic Surgery, St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
Paul Vaughan
1   Department of Thoracic Surgery, St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
Ian Hunt
1   Department of Thoracic Surgery, St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
Carol Tan
1   Department of Thoracic Surgery, St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
› Author Affiliations
Funding There are no sources of funding for the work to declare.


Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel coronavirus primarily affecting the respiratory system, was initially diagnosed in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Identified as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the World Health Organization, the virus rapidly became a global pandemic. The effects on health care worldwide were unprecedented as countries adapted services to treat masses of critically ill patients.

The aim of this study is to analyze the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic had on thoracic surgery at a major trauma center during peak prevalence.

Methods Prospective unit data were collected for all patients who underwent thoracic surgery during March 2020 until May 2020 inclusive. Retrospective data were collected from an earlier comparable time period as a comparison.

Results In the aforementioned time frame, 117 thoracic surgical operations were performed under the care of four thoracic surgeons. Six operations were performed on three patients who were being treated for SARS-CoV-2. One operation was performed on a patient who had recovered from SARS-CoV-2. There were no deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 in any patient undergoing thoracic surgery.

Conclusion This study demonstrates that during the first surge of SARS-CoV-2, it was possible to adapt a thoracic oncology and trauma service without increase in mortality due to COVID-19. This was only possible due to a significant reduction in trauma referrals, cessation of benign and elective work, and the more stringent reprioritization of cancer surgery. This information is vital to learn from our experience and prepare for the predicted second surge and any similar future pandemics we might face.

Publication History

Received: 20 July 2020

Accepted: 27 August 2020

Article published online:
20 November 2020

© 2020. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

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