Pancreatic surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic 2020-2021: an observational cohort study from a third level referral center

Carsten Palnæs Hansen*, Jan Henrik Storkholm, Martin Hylleholt Sillesen, Paul Suno Krohn, Stefan Kobbelgaard Burgdorf, Jens Georg Hillingsø

*Corresponding author for this work


    BACKGROUND: During the COVID pandemic there has been limited access to elective surgery including oncologic surgery in several countries world-wide. The aim of this study was to investigate if there was any lockdown effect on pancreatic surgery with special focus on malignant pancreatic and periampullary tumours.

    METHODS: Patients who underwent pancreatic surgery during the two Danish lockdown periods from 11. March 2020 and the following 12 months were compared with patients who were operated the preceding 3 years. Data on patients' characteristics, waiting time, operations, and clinical outcomes were evaluated.

    RESULTS: During lockdown and the previous three years the annual number of resections were 242, 232, 253, and 254, respectively (p = 0.851). Although the numbers were not significantly different, there were fluctuations in operations and waiting time during the lockdown. During the second outbreak of COVID October 2020 to March 2021 the overall median waiting time increased to 33 days (quartiles 26;39) compared to 23 (17;33) days during the first outbreak from March to May 2020 (p = 0.019). The same difference was seen for patients with malignant tumours, 30 (23;36) vs. 22 (18;30) months (p = 0.001). However, the fluctuations and waiting time during lockdown was like the preceding three years. Neither 30- nor 90-days mortality, length of stay, number of extended operations, and complications and tumour stage were significantly different from previous years.

    CONCLUSIONS: There were significant fluctuations in waiting time for operations during the lockdown, but these variations were not different from the preceding three years, wherefore other explanations than an impact from COVID are conceivable.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number200
    JournalBMC Surgery
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2022


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