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Preoperative Evaluation of the Cardiac Surgical Patient 

Preoperative Evaluation of the Cardiac Surgical Patient
Preoperative Evaluation of the Cardiac Surgical Patient

Rebecca M. Gerlach

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date: 23 October 2019

Patients undergoing cardiac surgery are at elevated risk for perioperative complications; however, certain risk factors may be modifiable. Preoperative evaluation performed in advance of surgery provides an opportunity for the perioperative anesthesiologist to intervene to reduce risk. Performing a focused history and physical examination informs the selection of appropriate preoperative tests. Risk assessment via tools specific to cardiac surgery provide a detailed risk profile. Certain diseases common to cardiac surgical patients deserve particular focus during assessment. Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus and resultant hyperglycemia are modifiable risk factors. Undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea is common and associated with postoperative complications. Concurrent carotid artery disease presents a management conundrum requiring multidisciplinary planning. Preoperative anemia is common; when due to iron deficiency, it is easily treated to improve outcomes. In addition to gathering information about the patient, the goal of preoperative evaluation is to identify ways to reduce risk and improve outcome from surgery in a resource-efficient manner.

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