National Trends in US Otolaryngology Surgical Volume During the Early COVID-19 Pandemic | Otolaryngology | JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery | JAMA Network
[Skip to Navigation]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS adult elective surgery and procedures recommendations. Accessed June 18, 2020.
Wang  J, Vahid  S, Eberg  M,  et al.  Clearing the surgical backlog caused by COVID-19 in Ontario: a time series modelling study.   CMAJ. 2020;192(44):E1347-E1356. doi:10.1503/cmaj.201521PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Re-opening facilities to provide non-emergent non-COVID-19 healthcare. Accessed November 17, 2020.
Merrick  R, Walsh  S, Ford  J, Morling  J, Lee  ACK.  Winter is coming, and it is going to be tough: COVID-19 and winter preparedness.   Public Health. 2020;187:A1-A2. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2020.07.037PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
COVIDSurg Collaborative.  Elective surgery cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic: global predictive modelling to inform surgical recovery plans.   Br J Surg. 2020;107(11):1440-1449. doi:10.1002/bjs.11746PubMedGoogle Scholar
American Hospital Association. Hospitals and health systems face unprecedented financial pressures due to COVID-19. Accessed November 17, 2020.
Views 5,441
Citations 0
Research Letter
February 11, 2021

National Trends in US Otolaryngology Surgical Volume During the Early COVID-19 Pandemic

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021;147(4):397-399. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.5472

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in tectonic shifts in the delivery of American health care, including surgical care. In the early days of the pandemic, the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recommended that surgeons “postpone nonessential surgeries and other procedures,”1 a recommendation endorsed by the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Emergency declarations by many states to suspend elective procedures resulted in an abrupt cessation of surgery in the US in March 2020.2 We sought to describe the resulting changes in US otolaryngology surgical volumes surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

We used the claims-based Vizient Clinical Data Base/Resource Manager (CDB; Vizient, Inc), which included data from 609 hospitals representing 97% of US academic medical centers and 160 community hospitals, to evaluate temporal trends in surgical care. Institutional review board approval and informed consent were waived by Johns Hopkins University because of the study’s use of deidentified data. Otolaryngology surgeries recorded in the Vizient CDB from March 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020, were used for this study. Otolaryngology procedures performed following the suspension of elective surgery in March 2020 through September 2020 were compared with the same calendar month in 2019 (eMethods in the Supplement). Data analysis was completed in R, version 4.0.3 (R Foundation for Statistical Computing) using the ggplot2, maps, usmap, and tidyverse packages.