Response of a comprehensive cancer center to the COVID-19 pandemic: the experience of the Fondazione IRCCS-Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano.

Franco Valenza, Gabriele Papagni, Alfonso Marchianò, Maria Grazia Daidone, Filippo DeBraud, Mario Paolo Colombo, Andrea Frignani, Gustavo Galmozzi, Vito Ladisa, Giancarlo Pruneri, Roberto Salvioni, Pierangelo Spada, Michele Torresani, Oliviero Rinaldi, Stefano Manfredi, Marco Votta, Giovanni Apolone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The rapid spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is affecting many countries. While healthcare systems need to cope with the need to treat a large number of people with different degrees of respiratory failure, actions to preserve aliquots of the healthcare system to guarantee treatment to patients are mandatory. METHODS: In order to protect the Fondazione IRCCS-Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano from the spread of COVID-19, a number of to-hospital and within-hospital filters were applied. Among others, a triage process to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) positivity in patients with cancer was developed consisting of high-resolution low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan followed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detection of SARS-CoV-2 in nose-throat swabs whenever CT was suggestive of lung infection. To serve symptomatic patients who were already admitted to the hospital or in need of hospitalization while waiting for RT-PCR laboratory confirmation of infection, a COVID-19 surveillance zone was set up. RESULTS: A total of 301 patients were screened between March 6 and April 3, 2020. Of these, 47 were hospitalized, 53 needed a differential diagnosis to continue with their cancer treatment, and 201 were about to undergo surgery. RT-PCR was positive in 13 of 40 hospitalized patients (32, 14 of 52 day hospital patients (27, and 6 of 201 surgical patients (3. CONCLUSION: Applying filters to protect our comprehensive cancer center from COVID-19 spread contributed to guaranteeing cancer care during the COVID-19 crisis in Milan. A surveillance area and surgical triage allowed us to protect the hospital from as many as 33 patients infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTumori
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020

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