The effect of COVID-19 on trainee operative experience at a multihospital academic neurosurgical practice: A first look at case numbers.

Citation:
Khan, A., J. Z. Mao, M. A. R. Soliman, K. Rho, R. M. Hess, R. M. Reynolds, J. P. Riley, J. P. Mullin, A. H. Siddiqui, E. I. Levy, et al., "The effect of COVID-19 on trainee operative experience at a multihospital academic neurosurgical practice: A first look at case numbers.", Surgical neurology international, vol. 12, pp. 271, 2021.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the economy, health care, and society as a whole. To prevent the spread of infection, local governments across the United States issued mandatory lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. In the surgical world, elective cases ceased to help "flatten the curve" and prevent the infection from spreading to hospital staff and patients. We explored the effect of the cancellation of these procedures on trainee operative experience at our high-volume, multihospital neurosurgical practice.

METHODS: Our department cancelled all elective cases starting March 16, 2020, and resumed elective surgical and endovascular procedures on May 11, 2020. We retrospectively reviewed case volumes for 54 days prelockdown and 54 days postlockdown to evaluate the extent of the decrease in surgical volume at our institution. Procedure data were collected and then divided into cranial, spine, functional, peripheral nerve, pediatrics, and endovascular categories.

RESULTS: Mean total cases per day in the prelockdown group were 12.26 ± 7.7, whereas in the postlockdown group, this dropped to 7.78 ± 5.5 ( = 0.01). In the spine category, mean cases per day in the prelockdown group were 3.13 ± 2.63; in the postlockdown group, this dropped to 0.96 ± 1.36 ( < 0.001). In the functional category, mean cases per day in the prelockdown group were 1.31 ± 1.51, whereas in the postlockdown group, this dropped to 0.11 ± 0.42 ( < 0.001). For cranial ( = 0.245), peripheral nerve ( = 0.16), pediatrics ( = 0.34), and endovascular ( = 0.48) cases, the volumes dropped but were not statistically significant decreases.

CONCLUSION: The impact of this outbreak on operative training does appear to be significant based solely on statistics. Although the drop in case volumes during this time can be accounted for by the pandemic, it is important to understand that this is a multifactorial effect. Further studies are needed for these results to be generalizable and to fully understand the effect this pandemic has had on trainee operative experience.

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