Clinicians in The Center for Outcomes & Patient Safety in Surgery (COMPASS) at Massachusetts General Hospital have conducted several projects related to understanding the COVID-19 virus and its impact on surgical care and outcomes.

Impact of Delayed Surgery on Disease Progression

After the novel coronavirus was declared a pandemic and a national emergency in the United States, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and many state officials released guidance to limit non-essential adult elective surgery and procedures. This was done to conserve critical health care resources and limit the exposure of patients and staff to the virus that causes COVID-19.

In an ongoing study, COMPASS clinicians are examining the impact of this delay by quantifying the frequency and severity of disease progression in patients who had their scheduled surgical procedure postponed during the pandemic.

COVIDSurg: An International Study to Quickly Improve COVID-19 Surgical Outcomes

An international cohort of surgeons, working as a rapid response research collaborative, has mobilized to collect real-world data as a way to inform surgical practices, policies and outcomes for patients infected with COVID-19. This study, called COVIDSurg, is spearheaded by a research team from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and the Department of Surgery at Mass General.

In an article on Advances in Motion, Haytham Kaafarani, MD, MPH, trauma surgeon and director of COMPASS, says, "The one thing at the center of all of this is the patient. The patients come first and this data will empower us to take better care of them."

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COVID-19 Bundled Response for Access (COBRA) Team

During the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant uptick in the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Mass General. In response to this increased need, several medical and surgical floors were converted into surge ICUs; however, the amount of available intensivists, residents and advanced practice providers quickly became scarce.

To address the constraints on personnel and resources, a dedicated team, called COBRA, was created to provide bundled vascular and enteral access in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

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Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Complications from COVID-19

Dr. Kaafarani and colleagues reviewed COVID-19's role in causing gastrointestinal symptoms and complications in patients who experienced severe COVID-19 infections—including mesenteric ischemia, a syndrome caused by inadequate blood flow to the colon.

View all related publications