A discussion on strategic considerations, effective safety measures and procedural deliberations in otorhinolaryngology practice and surgery during COVID-19: an integrative approach

Sharad Hernot, Apoorva Kumar Pandey, Madhuri Kaintura, Tripti Maithani, Aparna Bhardwaj, Ajaz Ul Haq, Fatma Anjum, Akanksha Bisht


Background: Coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has made an imperishable haunting mark worldwide, and has changed in many aspects the way medicine had been practiced till now. This study is intended to highlight the approach that was followed in the department of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) learning from the existing available guidelines to provide safe routine and emergency ENT care to all the patients irrespective of the COVID status. Objectives of the study were to highlight the changes, challenges, triage and safety recommendations associated with patient management during the ongoing pandemic.

Methods: This study conducted between 25th March 2020 to 15th September 2020 constitutes of following points covering various aspects of patient management such as education about personal protective equipment, the 3-station triage system starting from the patient’s entry in the hospital, general working and precautions at the ENT outpatient department (OPD) registration counter, medical consultation with otorhinolaryngologist in OPD or in ER, general precautions in endoscopy room/voice lab, and operation theatre, patient transport, and postoperative care.  

Results: A total of 8930 patients were seen from 25th March 2020 to 15th September 2020. 7885 patients were seen in ENT outpatient department, 561 in emergency room, and 484 patients were seen as referrals sent from other departments. 297 patients were advised admission for various surgical procedures whereas 22 patients were admitted for conservative management.

Conclusions: Through this study, we suggest a paradigm consisting of safety and triage recommendations to be followed while dealing with patients in a way to minimise the cross transmission of virus.


COVID-19 pandemic, Coronavirus 19, SARS CoV-2, Otorhinolaryngology, Surgery, Outpatient department, Safety recommendations, RT-PCR

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