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The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV‑2 virus has strongly affected the visceral and thoracic surgery department in southern Vorarlberg in Austria, which comprises two locations: the focus hospital in Feldkirch and the regional hospital in Bludenz.
The complete lockdown lasted 6 weeks (from March 16 to April 26, 2020), after which the hospital in Bludenz started day surgery again and in Feldkirch the capacity was slowly increased. We compared how oncological and acute operations differed during those 6 weeks to the 6 weeks before lockdown.
Our findings show a clear increase in emergency operations for acute cholecystitis (+133%) and acute appendicitis (+157%). While the acute operations increased, some oncological operations decreased, which was especially apparent for oncological colorectal resections (−66%) and oncological lung resections (−43%).
This survey shows that due to the increased catchment area, more acute operations were performed and also demonstrated that we were confronted with more advanced stages of those diseases. Furthermore, cancer operations which rely on short-term peripheral diagnostics decreased considerably.