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The authors evaluated patient perceptions of delayed pelvic floor surgery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Procedures primarily included prolapse repair, midurethral slings, and third-line overactive bladder therapies. Among the 68 patients responding to the questionnaire, just under half (47%) reported being upset about surgery being postponed. These patients appeared to suffer from social isolation, greater symptom impact, and anxiety regarding their condition and the impact of delay.
These findings highlight the impact of anxiety and lack of social support on coping with surgical postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority (72%) of "upset" patients would have preferred a physician visit prior to postponing surgery, suggesting that communication from their surgeons may have reduced disappointment and fear.
– Joshua A. Cohn, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
The primary objective of the study was to evaluate patients' attitudes toward the postponement of their scheduled procedures for pelvic floor disorders (PFD) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondary objectives were to identify patients who were upset with the postponement of their PFD procedures and to identify factors that are associated with being upset because of the delay in care.
This was a cross-sectional, survey-based study of women from a single urban, academic practice using a novel questionnaire. The study cohort included women whose PFD surgeries or office procedures were postponed between March 17 and April 30, 2020.
Ninety-eight women had surgeries postponed; 68 (70%) responded to our questionnaire. Nearly half of the respondents (32/68, 47.1%) were upset about their procedures being postponed. Upset patients reported a greater impact of PFD symptoms on their mood than those who were not upset (P = 0.002). Those who were upset were also more likely to report feelings of isolation (P = 0.006), fear that their PFD would worsen because of delayed care (P < 0.001), and anxiety over surgery postponement (P < 0.001) than those who were not upset about the delays. When controlling for anxiety, social isolation, and impact of PFD symptom, anxiety (adjusted odds ratio = 15.7; 95% confidence interval = 3.7-66.6) and feeling of isolation (adjusted odds ratio = 9.7; 95% confidence interval = 1.5-63.7) remained associated with increased odds of being upset because of procedure delays.
Half of women whose pelvic reconstructive procedures were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic were upset because of the delay in care, especially those who are emotionally and socially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.