Purpose: To review current practice regarding oral surgery input for patients awaiting cardiac valvular surgery and who are at risk of infective endocarditis (IE) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to stimulate debate around the indications for pre-operative oral surgery assessment. It also opens the way to developing a new research-based approach which is patient-centred, safe, effective and efficient. Methods: A desk-top based patient review was undertaken between 27 March 2020 and 1 July 2022 to record the outcome of patients undergoing cardiac valvular surgery in Northern Ireland, following the revision of the referral guidelines for oral surgery intervention. Data were collected for all cardiac referrals to the oral surgery on-call service in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Complications were recorded at two weeks, two months, and six months post-surgery, using Northern Ireland Electronic Care Records. Results: In total, 67 cardiac patients were identified between 27 March 2020 and 1 July 2022: 65.7% of patients were male and had an average age of 68, while the female patients had an average age of 61. The mean interval of date of cardiology referral to surgery date was 9.7 working days, with 36% of patients referred within five days of the planned surgery date. Moreover, 39% had valvular surgery in combination with another type of cardiac surgery. No complications linked to dental aetiology were noted. Conclusions: This paper raises questions about the advisability of oral surgery input before cardiac surgery for anything other than pain relief, management of acute dental sepsis, or IE whose source has been identified as an oral commensal. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity to review current practice and open the way to developing a new approach which is patient-centred, safe, effective and efficient.
- Endocarditis, Bacterial - etiology
- COVID-19 - epidemiology - complications
- Endocarditis - etiology - surgery
- Middle Aged
- Oral Surgical Procedures - adverse effects
- Cardiac Surgical Procedures - adverse effects