In Italy, surgical procedure volumes have seen a major decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to postponement or cancellation of elective procedures and, to a lesser degree, elimination of procedures that would have been performed on patients who die as a result of contracting COVID-19 disease.
This new dataset for Italy (2017-2025) projects the trends in procedure volumes with the implications of the coronavirus pandemic factored in.
From 2019 to 2020, procedure volume is projected to decline by 1.02 million or 20%, followed by a substantial increase of 1.9 million procedures (+46%) in 2021. The increase in 2021 is expected to result from the backlog of procedures postponed in 2020 which will add to the normal number of procedures estimated for 2021 in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not all of the procedures postponed in 2020 are expected to be recovered in 2021, since some patients who resort to alternative treatments (e.g., medical therapy, physical therapy) may decide to continue with those treatments and forgo surgery, although this trend will not occur for all types of procedures. In addition, it may be difficult for surgical services to accommodate such a large increase in volume, although the increase in comparison to 2021 procedure volume which is forecast to occur in absence of backlog procedures is only about 13.6%.