Universal Pre-procedural Screening for COVID-19 with RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 during the First Wave of Pandemic Period in King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital

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Sunisa Sangtongjaraskul


pandemic was the global health crisis. Institutional protocol
for pre-procedural screening with real-time reverse
transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was
applied since increasing cases in Thailand.
Objectives of Study: To evaluate the prevalence of
positive pre-procedural RT-PCR test for COVID-19 and its
effect on pre-operative waiting time.
Materials and Methods: Observational study in university
hospital was performed since 13 April to 31 May 2020.
Every patient scheduled for aerosol-generating procedures
were enrolled. Patients were pre-operatively screened for
COVID-19 by RT-PCR with specimen from nasopharyngeal
and/or throat swabs. Risk factors, clinical symptoms and
chest radiograph were collected. Pre-operative waiting
time was also recorded.
Results: One thousand and two hundred patients were
enrolled (89.66% inpatient cases and 12.17% emergencycases). No patients had positive RT-PCR test. Most
common risk factors were history of visiting crowded area.
Fever and cough were suspected symptoms recorded.
None of healthcare providers found positive for COVID-19
in this study. Furthermore, no abnormal chest radiography
related to COVID-19 detected. Pre-operative waiting time
was minimally delayed for urgency procedures with
approximately 177 minutes from scheduling to starting
operations compared with 144 minutes in normal situation.
Conclusion: Despite of negative result, appropriate
protocols to control disease transmission are important.
Cost-effectiveness and patients’ inconvenience should be
considered. Protective equipment should be available if
COVID-19 screening was not performed.



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