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After Covid, wait 6 weeks to undergo non-urgent surgery | Mumbai News – Times of India


Nandini, 47, recently wanted to undergo surgery to remove a diseased uterus (hysterectomy) after a full recovery from Covid-19. Her surgeon asked her to undergo an RT-PCR test before the procedure, which showed ‘positive’.
As a sizeable number of people recovered from Covidopt for non-urgent or elective surgical procedures, treating surgeons are insisting on repeat RT-PCR/antigen tests as pre-operative protocol.
But experts from Indian Council of Medical Research and the national Covid task force have advised against repeating Covid tests within 102 days of recovery, citing presence of ‘non-viable dead-virus particles’ that stay on for a while even after full recuperation. Also, experts said surgeons must consider performing a non-urgent surgery on a Covid-recovered patient 6 weeks after recovery for quick healing post surgery.
“Presently, Covid re-infection is confirmed only after 102 days of diagnosis. So retesting as pre-operative protocol in this time frame is not advisable,” said infectious diseases expert Sanjay Pujari, a national task force member.
“Also, a minimum 6 weeks before non-urgent surgery is recommended for Covid-recovered patients who were symptomatic. As for emergency surgeries in recovering or recovered patients, these must be done immediately with due precautions,” Pujari said.
But he added that if a patient experiences recurrence of symptoms after Covid recovery, re-testing and consultation with an infectious disease expert can be considered.
“Residual symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain are common in patients who have had Covid. These symptoms can be present more than 60 days after diagnosis,” Pujari said.
Covid may also have long-term effects on heart function. A thorough pre-operative evaluation, scheduled well ahead of surgery with special attention to cardiopulmonary systems, must be considered in patients who have recovered and especially in those with residual symptoms, guidelines by American Society of Anaesthesiology state.
Surgeon Sanjay Kolte, said, “Re-testing recovered patients within 102 days from Covid diagnosis only adds to anxiety and is a waste of money. Importantly, surgeons should adopt universal precautions while performing elective surgery rather than insisting on RTPCR reports.”

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