Perioperative Troponin Screening
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Myocardial injury is the most common cause of death during the 30 days after noncardiac surgery. Only 14% of patients who are experiencing a perioperative myocardial infarction will have chest pain, and 65% are entirely clinically silent, which means that they will go undetected without routine troponin screening. Although it is tempting to dismiss asymptomatic troponin elevation, mortality is similar with and without symptoms. Furthermore, mortality at 30 days in patients who have postoperative troponin elevation is a concerning 10%, which represents a 5-fold increase from background risk. Among inpatients ≥45 years of age who are having noncardiac surgery, the number necessary to screen to detect myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery, that would otherwise be missed, is only about 15 patients. Thus, troponin screening seems appropriate for most surgical inpatients who are ≥45 years of age. Potential acute interventions include initiating therapy such as aspirin, statins, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor antihypertensives, along with chronic lifestyle improvements such as smoking cessation, healthful eating, and exercise.
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