INTRODUCTION: The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly since it was identified . We sought to understand its effects on vascular surgery practices stratified by VASCON surgical readiness level and determine how these effects have changed during the course of the pandemic .
METHODS: All members of the Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Society were sent electronic surveys questioning the effects of COVID-19 on their practices in the early pandemic in April (EP) and four months later in the pandemic in August (LP) 2020 .
RESULTS: Response rates were 206/731 (28 %) in the EP group and 108/731 (15 %) in the LP group (P <0.0001). Most EP respondents reported VASCON levels less than 3 (168/206,82 %), indicating increased hospital limitations while 6/108 (6 %) in the LP group reported this level (P <0.0001). The EP group was more likely to report a lower VASCON level (increased resource limitations), and decreased clinic, hospital and emergency room consults . Despite an increase of average cases/week to pre-COVID-19 levels , 46/108 (43 %) of LP report continued decreased compensation, with 57% reporting more than 10% decrease . Respondents in the decreased compensation group were more likely to have reported a VASCON level 3 or lower earlier in the pandemic (Pâ¯=â¯0.018). 91/108 (84 %) of LP group have treated COVID-19 patients for thromboembolic events, most commonly acute limb ischemia (76/108) and acute DVT (76/108). While the majority of respondents are no longer delaying the vascular surgery cases , 76/108 (70 %) feel that vascular patient care has suffered due to earlier delays, and 36/108 (33 %) report a backlog of cases caused by the pandemic .
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 had a profound effect on vascular surgery practices earlier in the pandemic, resulting in continued detrimental effects on the provision of vascular care as well as compensation received by vascular surgeons.