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Tracheostomy during COVID-19 pandemic -- a novel approach 
  • Velda Ling Yu Chow MD
Velda Ling Yu Chow MD
University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
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Background This study describes a novel approach in reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission during tracheostomy. Methods Five patients underwent tracheostomy between 01 April 2020 and 17 April 2020. A clear and sterile plastic drape was used as an additional physical barrier against droplets and aerosols. Operative diagnosis; droplet count and distribution on plastic sheet and face shields were documented. Results Tracheostomy was performed for patients with carcinoma of tonsil (n=2) and nasopharynx (n=1), and aspiration pneumonia (n=2). Droplet contamination was noted on all plastic sheets (n=5). Droplet contamination was most severe over the central surface at 91.5% (86.7%-100.0%) followed by the left and right lateral surfaces at 5.2% (6.7%-10.0%) and 3.3% (6.7%-10.0%) respectively. No droplet contamination was noted on all face shields. Conclusion Plastic drapes can help reduce viral transmission to health care providers during tracheostomy. Face shields may be spared which in turn helps to conserve resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.