Screening for cardiac disease in patients having noncardiac surgery

Lee A. Fleisher, Kim A. Eagle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The preoperative evaluation of the cardiac patient having noncardiac surgery offers an opportunity to identify occult and further define known cardiovascular disease to modify both perioperative and long-term care. The baseline probability of cardiovascular disease should initially be assessed using clinical variables and identifying unstable symptoms, including unstable angina and congestive heart failure. The decision about whether to obtain noninvasive testing to further define cardiovascular status should be made on the basis of the testing's potential to modify perioperative care, the prior probability of advanced coronary disease based on clinical history, and the magnitude of the surgical procedure. Noninvasive testing is best done in selected patients who are at moderate clinical risk. Otherwise, testing loses its predictive value because of a high incidence of false-negative and false-positive results. Quantitative imaging can also be used to identify those patients in whom coronary angiography is indicated. The value of coronary revascularization before noncardiac surgery has not been studied in a randomized, prospective manner, but several cohort studies have suggested that patients who survive coronary artery bypass grafting have decreased risk during subsequent noncardiac surgery. Given the potential short-term increase in morbidity from two surgical procedures, it is prudent to reserve coronary revascularization before noncardiac surgery for those patients in whom it is associated with improved long-term survival. If coronary revascularization is reserved for these patients, then the overall evaluation should prove cost- effective from the perspective of both perioperative and long-term cardiovascular care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-772
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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