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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 2373-2377

Preoperative COVID-19 testing for elective vitreoretinal surgeries: Experience from a major tertiary care institute in South India

Department of Retina-Vitreous Services, Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sagnik Sen
Department of Retina-Vitreous Services, Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, Tamil Nadu - 625020
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2870_20

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Purpose: To study the prevalence of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 virus infection (COVID-19) among patients undergoing elective vitreoretinal surgeries at a tertiary care eye hospital. Methods: This cross-sectional, observational study was performed between July 16, 2020 and August 31, 2020, in the retina clinic of a tertiary care eye hospital in south India. All patients undergoing elective retinal surgical procedures underwent RT-PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 before being posted for surgery and after obtaining informed consent. Patients planned for surgery under general anesthesia underwent additional computed tomography of the chest. Testing strategies and outcomes were documented. Results: Out of a total of 413 patients who were given appointments for surgery during this period, nine patients (2.2%) were found to have positive RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2, and their surgeries were postponed. The test positivity (prevalence) rate of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection among all elective vitreoretinal surgical patients in our hospital was 2.2%. None of the patients were symptomatic for COVID-19. Conclusion: Our results showed that among patients visiting high volume ophthalmic centers in the near future, approximately 1 in 45 patients may be asymptomatic, SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive. Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients may lead to chances of transmission of the virus inside healthcare facilities among other visiting patients and healthcare workers.

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