Experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Council Taskforce have advised: “Recovered Covid patients opting for non-urgent or elective surgeries are being asked by surgeons to go for repeat RT-PCR/ antigen tests as part of pre-operative protocols.”
The experts have also said to repeat Covid tests within 102 days of recovery and citing the presence of “non-viable dead-virus parties” that stay in the body for a while.
Surgeons should consider performing a non-urgent surgery on a Covid-recovered patient only after six weeks of recovery to ensure faster healing and convalescence post-surgery, said experts. “At present, Covid reinfection is confirmed only after 102 days of diagnosis hence it is advisable to delay surgeries till this time has lapsed,” said infectious diseases expert Sanjay Pujari.
Doctor Pujari also stressed the importance of a preoperative evaluation of Covid recovered patients well ahead of surgery with a special focus on the cardiopulmonary systems.
Also, “Residual symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain are common in patients who have had Covid. These symptoms can be present for more than 6o days after diagnosis,” said doctor Pujari while emphasizing the need for a preoperative risk assessment as per the guidelines issued by the American Society of Anesthesiology.
President of Poona Surgical society, Sanjay Kolte said, “Retesting recovered patients within 102 days from Covid diagnosis is a waste of time and leads to anxiety. Importantly, Surgeons should adopt universal precautions while performing elective surgery rather than insisting on RTPCR reports.”