Methodology for triage of urologic surgical cases in the setting of a pandemic

Ahmed Aboumohamed, Josh Gottlieb, Matthew DeMasi, Emily Barry, Alexander Sankin, Kara Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 forced our healthcare system in the Bronx, New York to cancel nearly all scheduled surgeries. We developed a framework for prioritizing postponed urologic surgeries that was utilized once cases were permitted to be rescheduled. As many parts of our country experience first and second waves of this pandemic, our framework may serve as a resource for other centers experiencing restrictions on the scheduling of elective urologic surgeries. Methods: As the COVID-19 pandemic started and peaked in New York, almost all of our scheduled urologic surgeries were cancelled. Each Urologist was asked to rank his/her cancelled surgeries by priority (Level 1—least urgent; Level 2—moderately urgent; Level 3—most urgent). A committee of Urologists assigned a subclass to Level 3 and 2 cases (3a—least urgent; 3b—moderately urgent; 3c—most urgent; 2a—lower priority; 2b—higher priority). The committee then reviewed cases by urgency to derive a final priority ranking. Results: A total of 478 total urologic surgeries were canceled and categorized: 250 Level 1, 130 Level 2, 98 Level 3 (73 adult, 25 pediatric). Level 3c involved renal cell carcinoma ≥ T2b, high-grade bladder urothelial carcinoma, adrenal mass/cancer > 6 cm, testicular cancer requiring radical orchiectomy, and penile cancer. Level 3b involved T2a renal masses requiring nephrectomy, while high-risk prostate cancer and symptomatic nephrolithiasis were classified as 3a. Level 2 included testicular cancer requiring retroperitoneal lymph node dissection and complicated benign prostatic hyperplasia. Surgeries for urologic reconstruction, non-complicated nephrolithiasis, erectile dysfunction, and urinary incontinence were considered Level 1. Conclusions: Our disease-specific approach to surgical rescheduling offers appropriate guidance for triaging urologic surgeries. Our system can provide guidance to other institutions as COVID-19 cases surge in different regions and with the growing second wave.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116
JournalBMC Surgery
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic
  • Triage
  • Urology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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