Pandemic Recovery Using a COVID-Minimal Cancer Surgery Pathway

Daniel J. Boffa, Benjamin L. Judson, Kevin G. Billingsley, Domenico Galetta, Paul Fontanez, Craig Odermatt, Kristy Lindner, Marci R. Mitchell, Cara M. Henderson, Tracy Carafeno, Josephine Pinto, Jane A. Wagner, Michael M. Ancuta, Peggy Beley, Anne L. Turner, Trevor Banack, Maxwell S. Laurans, Dirk C. Johnson, Peter S. Yoo, John M. MortonHolly Zurich, Kimberly Davis, Nita Ahuja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created unprecedented disruption in health care delivery around the world. In an effort to prevent hospital-acquired COVID-19 infections, most hospitals have severely curtailed elective surgery, performing only surgeries if the patient's survival or permanent function would be compromised by a delay in surgery. As hospitals emerge from the pandemic, it will be necessary to progressively increase surgical activity at a time when hospitals continue to care for COVID-19 patients. In an attempt to mitigate the risk of nosocomial infection, we have created a patient care pathway designed to minimize risk of exposure of patients coming into the hospital for scheduled procedures. The COVID-minimal surgery pathway is a predetermined patient flow, which dictates the locations, personnel, and materials that come in contact with our cancer surgery population, designed to minimize risk for virus transmission. We outline the approach that allowed a large academic medical center to create a COVID-minimal cancer surgery pathway within 7 days of initiating discussions. Although the pathway represents a combination of recommended practices, there are no data to support its efficacy. We share the pathway concept and our experience so that others wishing to similarly align staff and resources toward the protection of patients may have an easier time navigating the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)718-724
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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