Dental-oral, Maxillo-facial Surgery
Introduction: Aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) put the dental health care professionals (DHCPs) at a greater risk for acquiring severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. In late June 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised elective dental procedures provision to asymptomatic patients while mandating strict infection control protocol and suggested the use of preprocedural testing as an adjunct. A cost-effective method for mass preprocedural testing is pool testing, which has specificity and sensitivity similar to polymerase chain reaction. This article aims to assess the outcomes and utility of incorporating preprocedural testing protocol for SARS-CoV-2 in dental clinics before providing AGPs.
Method: The patients who were recommended AGPs where rubber dam placement was not possible were advised to undergo preprocedural testing for SARS-CoV-2. Pool testing strategy was employed, and patients were asked to get tested 48 h before the day of the procedure.
Results: Out of a total of 1,000 patients, who presented from June 2020 to late July 2020, 464 were recommended dental procedures. In 194 of 464, AGPs could not be performed under rubber dam isolation; therefore, the patients were advised to get a preprocedural pool test. In total, 111 patients deferred the procedure and testing. Out of 83 who got tested, 7 were positive for SARS-CoV-2, 5 of whom were tested in early June 2020 and 2 in late July 2020.
Conclusion: Pool testing within its limitations can be a useful preprocedure test in asymptomatic low-risk patients for AGP in dentistry, especially when the disease prevalence is low or moderate (<10%). It has the potential of reducing testing costs significantly while conserving reagent and other resources. Preprocedure testing, however, also gives rise to certain ethical concerns that also need to be addressed.
Knowledge transfer statement: The results of this study can be used by clinicians when deciding which preprocedure testing approach they wish to use when performing aerosol-generating procedures in asymptomatic patients with consideration of cost sensitivity and specificity values.
JDR Clinical & Translational Research
(2021). Preprocedural pool testing strategy for dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic. JDR Clinical & Translational Research.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_surg_dent_oral_maxillofac/163
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