Acute social isolation and postoperative surgical outcomes. Lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic

Mohamed A. Abd El Aziz, Giacomo Calini, Solafah Abdalla, Hamedelneel A. Saeed, Jenna K. Lovely, Anne Lise D. D’Angelo, Kevin T. Behm, Kellie L. Mathis, David W. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: During COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals changed visitation policy to limit the infection spread. We aimed to evaluate the impact of evolving visitation policy on short-term surgical outcomes. METHODS: All adult patients who underwent colorectal surgery between January 1st, 2020, and May 12th, 2020, at our institution were included. Patients were divided into: before implementing the no visitor allowed policy (VA) or no visitor allowed policy (NVA) groups, based on the hospital admission date.. The primary outcomes were 30-day readmission rate and length of stay (LOS). RESULTS: A total of 439 patients were included. Of them, 128 (29.2%) patients had surgery during the NVA policy, and 311 (70.8%) patients underwent surgery during VA policy. Patients who had surgery during the NVA policy were more likely to have emergency surgery and a longer operation time. However, the other baseline characteristics, surgical approach, underlying disease, extent of resection, and the need for intraoperative blood transfusion were comparable between the two groups. There was no difference between both groups regarding the 30-day readmission rate (10.3% vs. 7.8% in the NVA group; P>0.05) and median LOS (4 days vs. 3 days in the NVA group; P>0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Restricting inpatient visitors for patients undergoing colorectal surgery was not associated with increased postoperative complications and readmission rates. LOS was similar between the two groups. This strategy can be safely implemented in cases of crisis. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-353
Number of pages6
JournalMinerva Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Colorectal surgery
  • COVID-19
  • Health policy
  • Visitors to patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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