Approximately 27 million patients undergo non-cardiac surgery every year in the US.  Of those, about 50,000 have a perioperative MI. Furthermore, over half of the 40,000 perioperative deaths each year are caused by cardiac events.  Patients over 65 years of age are at higher risk of cardiac disease, cardiac morbidity, and death. Considering that this patient population will greatly increase over the coming decades, the number of patients with significant perioperative cardiac risk undergoing non-cardiac surgery can be expected to increase globally.
Most perioperative cardiac morbidity and mortality is related to MI, heart failure, or arrhythmias. Therefore, preoperative evaluation and perioperative management emphasise the detection, characterisation, and treatment of CAD, left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction, and significant arrhythmias in appropriate patients. These include patients with known or suspected CAD, arrhythmias, history of heart failure, or current symptoms consistent with these conditions. In the asymptomatic patient, a more extensive history and physical examination is warranted in people aged 50 years or older.
Assess the medical status of the patient and the cardiac risks posed by the planned non-cardiac surgery
Recommend appropriate strategies to reduce the risk of cardiac problems over the entire perioperative period, and to improve long-term cardiac outcomes.
The main overall goals of assessment are to:
Identify patients at increased risk of an adverse perioperative cardiac event
Identify patients with a poor long-term prognosis due to cardiovascular disease. Even though the risk at the time of non-cardiac surgery may not be prohibitive, appropriate treatment will affect long-term prognosis.
The nature of the evaluation should be individualised to the patient and the specific clinical scenario.
Patients presenting with an acute surgical emergency require only a rapid preoperative assessment, with subsequent management directed at preventing or minimising cardiac morbidity and death. Such patients can often be more thoroughly evaluated after surgery.
Patients undergoing an elective procedure with no surgical urgency can undergo a more thorough preoperative evaluation.
Professor and Chairman of Internal Medicine
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
DM declares that he has no competing interests.
University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center
MB declares that he has no competing interests.
Cardiology Specialist Registrar
The James Cook University Hospital
AT declares that he has no competing interests.
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