Study protocol for COvid-19 Vascular sERvice (COVER) study: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the provision, practice and outcomes of vascular surgery

Vascular and Endovascular Research Network

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BACKGROUND: The novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound impact on global healthcare. Shortages in staff, operating theatre space and intensive care beds has led to a significant reduction in the provision of surgical care. Even vascular surgery, often insulated from resource scarcity due to its status as an urgent specialty, has limited capacity due to the pandemic. Furthermore, many vascular surgical patients are elderly with multiple comorbidities putting them at increased risk of COVID-19 and its complications. There is an urgent need to investigate the impact on patients presenting to vascular surgeons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The COvid-19 Vascular sERvice (COVER) study has been designed to investigate the worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vascular surgery, at both service provision and individual patient level. COVER is running as a collaborative study through the Vascular and Endovascular Research Network (VERN), an independent, international vascular research collaborative with the support of numerous national and international organisations). The study has 3 'Tiers': Tier 1 is a survey of vascular surgeons to capture longitudinal changes to the provision of vascular services within their hospital; Tier 2 captures data on vascular and endovascular procedures performed during the pandemic; and Tier 3 will capture any deviations to patient management strategies from pre-pandemic best practice. Data submission and collection will be electronic using online survey tools (Tier 1: SurveyMonkey® for service provision data) and encrypted data capture forms (Tiers 2 and 3: REDCap® for patient level data). Tier 1 data will undergo real-time serial analysis to determine longitudinal changes in practice, with country-specific analyses also performed. The analysis of Tier 2 and Tier 3 data will occur on completion of the study as per the pre-specified statistical analysis plan.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0243299
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2020


  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Endovascular Procedures/statistics & numerical data
  • Health Impact Assessment/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Operating Rooms/statistics & numerical data
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Specialties, Surgical/statistics & numerical data
  • Surgeons
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures/statistics & numerical data


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