Outcomes and their State-Level Variation in Patients Undergoing Surgery with Perioperative SARS-CoV-2 Infection in the USA: A Prospective Multicenter Study

Ann Surg. 2021 Nov 18. Online ahead of print


To report the 30-day outcomes of patients with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection undergoing surgery in the USA.

Summary background data

Uncertainty regarding the postoperative risks of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) exists.


As part of the COVIDSurg multicenter study, all patients aged ≥17 years undergoing surgery between January 1 and June 30, 2020 with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection in 70 hospitals across 27 states were included. The primary outcomes were 30-day mortality and pulmonary complications. Multivariable analyses (adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, and procedure characteristics) were performed to identify predictors of mortality.


A total of 1,581 patients were included; more than half of them were males (n= 822, 52.0%) and older than 50 years (n=835, 52.8%). Most procedures (n=1,261, 79.8%) were emergent, and laparotomies (n= 538, 34.1%). The mortality and pulmonary complication rates were 11.0 and 39.5%, respectively. Independent predictors of mortality included age ≥70 years (OR 2.46, 95% CI [1.65–3.69]), male sex (2.26 [1.53–3.35]), ASA grades 3–5 (3.08 [1.60–5.95]), emergent surgery (2.44 [1.31–4.54]), malignancy (2.97 [1.58–5.57]), respiratory comorbidities (2.08 [1.30–3.32]), and higher Revised Cardiac Risk Index (1.20 [1.02–1.41]). While statewide elective cancelation orders were not associated with a lower mortality, a sub-analysis showed it to be associated with lower mortality in those who underwent elective surgery (0.14 [0.03–0.61]).


Patients with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection have a significantly high risk for postoperative complications, especially elderly males. Postponing elective surgery and adopting non-operative management, when reasonable, should be considered in the USA during the pandemic peaks.