Physicians' recommendations for patients who undergo noncardiac surgery. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • OBJECTIVE: To investigate how consulting physicians attempt to modify perioperative cardiac risk for patients who undergo noncardiac surgery by comparing the preoperative cardiac recommendations of consulting physicians in 2 university centres. DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional analysis. SETTING: Five hospitals affiliated with 2 Canadian universities. PATIENTS: Three hundred and eight preoperative consultations were evaluated in 297 patients who were 40 years of age or older and scheduled for noncardiac surgery. OUTCOME MEASURES: Cardiac drug recommendations at the preoperative consultation [corrected]; overall recommendations and practice variation between the 2 centres. RESULTS: The greatest changes in drug management suggested by consultants were the initiation of nitrates in 13% of the patients and a decrease in acetylsalicylic acid administration from 27% to 17%. Centre A physicians recommended adding an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor 11% of the time, whereas centre B physicians recommended such an inhibitor in only 1% of the patients (p = 0.001). In patients taking acetylsalicylic acid at the preoperative consultation, Centres A and B physicians recommended withholding the drug 47% and 22% of the time, respectively (p = 0.03). These differences persisted between the 2 centres after controlling for physician estimates of risk. CONCLUSIONS: Consultants frequently recommended perioperative changes in the use of cardiac medications, and there were differences in practice patterns between the 2 centres. These differences may be affecting patient outcomes and highlight the need for randomized clinical trials to determine the impact of perioperative drug administration on bleeding, myocardial infarction and death.

publication date

  • April 2000

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