No pre-operative COVID testing prior to elective surgery in children
Pre-op SARS-CoV-2 testing is no longer recommended prior to elective surgery in children.
APAGBI endorsed RCPCH National guidance for the restoration and recovery of elective surgery in children updated:
Pre-op SARS-CoV-2 testing is not required prior to elective surgery in children, irrespective of vaccination status and irrespective of whether the child requires an overnight admission. Only if a symptomatic child undergoing elective surgery is being admitted to a critical care unit or is likely to be in close contact with extremely vulnerable* children post-op should multiplex PCR testing for a panel of respiratory viruses be considered, in order to inform infection prevention and control practices.
All children undergoing elective surgery should have symptom-based pre-op screening performed in the 72 hours prior to surgery; if this identifies symptoms consistent with a respiratory tract infection, a decision needs to be made by the anaesthetist about the safety of anaesthetising the child for surgery.
Elective surgery does not need to be deferred in children following asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 infection. However, in hospitals still requiring isolation of patients following infection with SARS-CoV-2, it is reasonable for elective surgery to be delayed for this period to reduce pressure on isolation facilities.
* those with severe underlying respiratory disease, congenital heart disease with persisting heart failure or cyanosis or severe immunodeficiency