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Anaesthesia precautions for Covid-19 may be unnecessary, study finds

Thousands of patients may be facing unnecessarily long waiting times for surgery because of a misplaced assumption about the Covid-19 risk posed to healthcare staff by a routine procedure, a study has found.

For months, operating theatres have been running at reduced capacity, leading to some of the longest waiting lists for surgery since records began.

A major reason has been the introduction of precautions to protect against the airborne transmission of coronavirus via tiny droplets called aerosols during a general anaesthetic.

This risk was judged so high that they have been classified as “aerosol generating procedures” for which respirators and high-level personal protective equipment are required, and surgery must pause while the operating room is cleared of aerosols and special cleaning is undertaken.

Yet, despite the presumed risk, no direct measurements of aerosols have ever been made. Now a study suggests these additional precautions may be unnecessary.

Read more in The Guardian.

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