American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

American Society of Anesthesiologists & Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation Issue Statement on Non-urgent Surgical, Diagnostic, and Interventional Procedures

Newswise — The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) today announced recommendations for facilities in areas with growing rates of COVID-19 to reduce non-urgent surgical, diagnostic, and interventional procedures.

“As always, our primary priority is the health and safety of our patients,” said ASA President Mary Dale Peterson, M.D., MSHCA, FACHE, FASA. “And in this extraordinary time, we need to ensure that our health care workers have all that they need to care for their patients as well as protect themselves and their families.”

The ASA/APSF statement recommends:

  • Time-critical procedures be prioritized according to patient need and the facility’s resources.
  • Urgency of procedures exists along a continuum and non-time-critical procedures should be rescheduled to when community transmission of COVID-19 is no longer occurring.
  • Decisions to reduce non-urgent procedures should depend on the facility’s geographic location e.g., the existing and expected risk for COVID-19 infection, available personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, respirators and body protection as well as intensive care resources.
  • In line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines, which advises the elderly and people with serious chronic medical conditions to stay at home as much as possible, should be interpreted to include non-urgent surgery.
  • Ambulatory settings should be considered to reduce demand on hospital resources.
  • Facilities should consider social distancing and restrictions on patients and visitors who may be asymptomatic, as well as monitor the well-being of health care providers.
  • Facility leaders should ensure that physicians, nurses, and staff have access to and training on the PPE recommended by the CDC for their specific clinical practices.

“Safety is of paramount importance right now and we need to be sure we are going above and beyond what is necessary to protect our patients and support the providers who are caring for them,” said APSF President Mark A. Warner, M.D.

 ASA and APSF continue to monitor COVID-19 to evaluate and manage its impact on members, the health care community, patients, and staff. Additional important information on anesthesia care in the COVID-19 pandemic will be regularly updated on ASA and APSF devoted web pages.

About American Society of Anesthesiologists

Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves. For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter.

About Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation

Founded in 1985, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) promotes research of perioperative patient safety issues, supports the development of careers in patient safety, provides patient safety educational materials and communications to all anesthesia providers, and advocates for changes in clinical practices that improve patient safety.  The APSF’s goal is that no one shall be harmed by anesthesia care.    

The APSF is a related organization of ASA. APSF provides support for research and education in perioperative patient safety.  Its past initiatives have resulted in significant contributions to the field of anesthesia patient safety. APSF has distributed over $12 million in funding for anesthesia patient safety research projects over its 30+ year history. For more information on APSF or to donate, please visit

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