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:

Updates in this version (June 2022): 

  • 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