The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the delivery of lower limb arthroplasty

Main Article Content

Ashish Vasudev, BSc (Hons), MBchB Abdus Samee Wasim, BSc (Hons), MBBS, MRSC Akash Sharma, FRCS(Tr&Orth) Yuvraj Agrawal, FRCS(Tr&Orth)

Abstract

Hip and knee arthroplasty is an extremely successful and cost-effective procedure that is widely performed to restore function and alleviate pain. The arrival of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) brought significant disruptions to delivery of surgery worldwide, including lower limb arthroplasty. Three years on from the start of the pandemic the effects of the virus are still present. This literature review aims to explore current data published from our single specialty orthopaedic centre and data collected nationally and internationally, on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lower limb arthroplasty.


Elective hip and knee arthroplasty in the UK fell by approximately 40% and 50% respectively (2020 vs 2019) and by the end of 2021 the number of procedures completed still remained below pre-pandemic levels. As a result, elective waiting times are longer than ever before, with more patients suffering worse health states and a significant impact on quality of life. The UK National Hip Fracture Database showed an active COVID-19 infection was associated with a three-fold greater risk of 30-day mortality post lower limb arthroplasty. Several reports have also correlated peri-operative COVID-19 infection with increased risk of systemic complications with the virus such as pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms, acute kidney injury and myocardial infarction to name a few.


NHS England provided guidelines for safe recommencement for elective operating. Upon adoption of these recommendations, several orthopaedic units found similar rates of post-operative complications and mortality to pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating that safe elective care can be delivered even during an emergency pandemic setting. The development of rapid testing, use of personal protective equipment and introduction of pre- and post-operative isolation protocols were effective measures to allow elective surgery to restart. For infected individuals awaiting surgery, delays of at least seven weeks are recommended to reduce complication rates. There is limited literature discussing the impact of the vaccine on post-operative complications and mortality. Early reports however have suggested vaccinated individuals benefit from a reduced mortality risk in emergency cases of hip fracture surgery, but this is an area which would benefit from further research.


 

Keywords: The impact of the COVID-19, The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19, delivery of lower limb arthroplasty, literature review

Article Details

How to Cite
VASUDEV, Ashish et al. The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the delivery of lower limb arthroplasty. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 3, mar. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/3671>. Date accessed: 20 apr. 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v11i3.3671.
Section
Review Articles

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