Creating a safe workplace by universal testing of SARS-CoV-2 infection in asymptomatic patients and healthcare workers in the electrophysiology units: a multi-center experience

Sanghamitra Mohanty, Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, Chintan Trivedi, Bryan MacDonald, Angel Quintero Mayedo, Domenico G. Della Rocca, Donita Atkins, Peter Park, Alap Shah, Rakesh Gopinathannair, Amin Al-Ahmad, John D. Burkhardt, G. J. Gallinghouse, Mohamed Bassiouny, Luigi Di Biase, David Kessler, David Tschopp, Paul Coffeen, Rodney Horton, Robert CanbyAndrea Natale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: As the coronavirus cases continue to surge, the urgent need for universal testing to identify positive cases for effective containment of this highly contagious pandemic has become the center of attention worldwide. However, in spite of extensive discussions, very few places have even attempted to implement it. We evaluated the efficacy of widespread testing in creating a safe workplace in our electrophysiology (EP) community. Furthermore, we assessed the new infection rate in patients undergoing EP procedure, to see if identification and exclusion of positive cases facilitated establishment of a risk-free operating environment. Methods: Viral-RNA and serology tests were conducted in 1670 asymptomatic subjects including patients and their caregivers and staff in our EP units along with the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) staff. Results: Of 1670, 758 (45.4%) were patients and the remaining 912 were caregivers, EMS staff, and staff from EP clinic and lab. Viral-RNA test revealed 64 (3.8%) positives in the population. A significant increase in positivity rate was observed from April to June 2020 (p = 0.02). Procedures of positive cases (n = 31) were postponed until they tested negative at retesting. Staff testing positive (n = 33) were retested before going back to work after 2 weeks. Because of suspected exposure, 67 staff were retested and source was traced. No new infections were reported in patients during or within 2 weeks after the hospital-stay. Conclusions: Universal testing to identify positive cases was helpful in creating and maintaining a safe working environment without exposing patients and staff to new infections in the EP units. Trial registration: Trial Registration Number: clinicaltrials.gov: NCT04352764

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Asymptomatic
  • COVID-19
  • Electrophysiology
  • Serology
  • Universal testing
  • Viral-RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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