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Perioperative cardiac care of the high-risk non-cardiac patient 

Perioperative cardiac care of the high-risk non-cardiac patient
Perioperative cardiac care of the high-risk non-cardiac patient

Martin Balik



Minor updates throughout, two references deleted and five new references added.

Updated on 22 February 2018. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 07 July 2020

Non-cardiac surgery conveys a cardiac risk related to the status of the patient’s cardiovascular system. Cardiac-related risk of surgery can be assessed by integrating the risk and urgency of the procedure with cardiovascular risk factors, which include age, ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, stroke, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and renal dysfunction. An individual assessment can include simple multivariate scoring systems, developed with the aim of evaluating cardiac risk prior to non-cardiac surgery. Patient assessment can be extended for indicated additional tests. The indications for further cardiac testing and treatments are the same as in the non-operative setting, but their timing is dependent on the urgency of surgery, and patient-specific and surgical risk factors. A delay in surgery, due to the use of both non-invasive and invasive preoperative testing, should be limited to those circumstances in which the results of such tests will clearly affect patient management. In high-risk patients, the result of the cardiac assessment helps to choose adequate perioperative monitoring and to indicate for an intensive care unit stay perioperatively. Chronic medications can be adjusted, according to the current knowledge on perioperative management. Drugs with the potential to reduce the incidence of post-operative cardiac events and mortality include beta-blockers, statins, and aspirin. Chronic platelet anti-aggregation and anticoagulation therapies have to be adapted by weighing the risk of bleeding against the risk of thrombotic complications.

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