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Outcomes of Patients With No Laboratory Assessment Before Anesthesia and a Surgical Procedure


      To estimate the frequency of perioperative morbidities in patients who underwent anesthesia and a surgical procedure with no preoperative laboratory testing.

      Material and Methods

      We conducted an electronic database search of medical records of 56,119 patients who underwent surgical or diagnostic procedures and anesthesia at Mayo Clinic Rochester in 1994 and found 5,120 who had no laboratory tests done within 90 days before the procedure. From this group, we randomly selected 1,044 patients (87 from each month) to document the absence of preoperative tests, the presence of preexisting disease (by organ system), the type of anesthetic agent, and the outcomes and tests intraoperatively and postoperatively.


      The 1,044 patients ranged in age from 0 to 95 years (median age, 21). No deaths or major perioperative morbidities occurred (0.0%; exact 95% confidence interval, 0.00 to 0.35 %). Although 10 patients underwent blood typing and screening for antibodies immediately preoperatively, no blood transfusions were necessary. Intraoperatively, 17 laboratory tests and 1 electrocardiogram were obtained, and 3 results were abnormal. Postoperatively, 42 blood tests and 2 electrocardiographic procedures were per- formed. Five of the 42 blood tests showed abnormal results (hemoglobin levels in 3, serum sodium in 1, and arterial blood gases in 1). One electrocardiogram showed normal findings, and the other revealed normal results except for premature ventricular contractions. No laboratory test done intraoperatively or postoperatively was found to change surgical or medical management substantially. One patient who had unanticipated blood loss during an outpatient procedure was admitted to the hospital for observation.


      All 1,044 patients, 97% of whom were relatively healthy, with no recent laboratory testing safely underwent anesthesia and an operation. We conclude that patients who have been assessed by history and physical examination and determined to have no preoperative indication for laboratory tests can safely undergo anesthesia and operation with tests obtained only as indicated intraoperatively and postoperatively. Current anesthetic and medical practices rapidly identify perioperative indications for laboratory evaluation as they arise.
      ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists), ECG (electro-cardiography)
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