Purpose of Review: This review explores recent international guidance on the anesthetic management of patients undergoing thoracic surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic: those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 requiring urgent thoracic surgery and those presenting for elective procedures. Recent Findings: A significant mortality risk is associated with patients with COVID-19 undergoing thoracic surgery; therefore, where possible, it should be avoided. Thoracic surgery also carries a significant risk of viral transmission to healthcare workers due to the necessarily high frequency of intraoperative aerosol-generating procedures involved, such as lung isolation, one-lung ventilation, and flexible bronchoscopy. Summary: Guidelines recommend appropriate personal protective equipment and numerous procedural modifications to prevent viral transmission to staff and other patients. With appropriate disease mitigation strategies in place, elective thoracic surgery, in particular for lung cancer, has been able to continue safely in many centres.


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Fraser, R., Steven, M., McCall, P. & Shelley, B. 2021, 'Anesthetic management for thoracic surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic', Current Anesthesiology Reports. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40140-021-00467-0

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Last updated: 09 August 2022
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