Some 28.4 million planned surgeries could be canceled or postponed globally due to the new coronavirus pandemic, according to new research warning that huge backlogs risk “potentially devastating” consequences for patients and health systems.
The study, published this week in the British Journal of Surgery, modeled the expected number of elective operations that would be put on hold in 190 countries during a 12-week peak of COVID-19 disruption.
“Cancelling elective surgery at this scale will have substantial impact on patients and cumulative, potentially devastating consequences for health systems worldwide,” the authors said.
“Delaying time-sensitive elective operations, such as cancer or transplant surgery, may lead to deteriorating health, worsening quality of life, and unnecessary deaths.”
Globally, around 82% of benign surgeries, 38% of cancer operations and around a quarter of elective Caesarean sections would be canceled or postponed, the study found.