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Anesth Analg. 2002 Dec;95(6):1563-8, table of contents.

The effect of alterations in a preoperative assessment clinic on reducing the number and improving the yield of cardiology consultations.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Although preoperative assessment testing clinics (PATCs) can produce efficiency in the evaluation of surgical candidates, their effect on the use of consultants has not been studied. We hypothesized that changes in PATC procedures, education, and staffing could affect the use and yield of cardiology consultations. All PATC anesthesiologist-requested cardiology consultations for patients undergoing elective noncardiac surgery from 1993 to 1999 were reviewed. This period corresponded to 3 yr before and after a change in the PATC leadership, which resulted in more stringent consultation algorithms, a cardiac assessment and electrocardiogram interpretation educational program, and altered staffing of anesthesiologists and ancillary personnel. A single senior cardiologist completed all consultations. Data including age, sex, reason for consultation, resultant testing, consultant conclusions, cancellations, and surgical procedure and outcomes were collected. In the PRE and POST groups, respectively, 917 and 279 consultations (1.46% versus 0.49% [P = 0.0001] of noncardiovascular surgeries) were ordered despite an increase in the surgical case-mix acuity. In the POST group, significantly fewer consultations were ordered and significantly more required further testing to assess cardiac status. We conclude that changes in PATC consultation algorithms, education, and staffing can significantly decrease the use and yield of preoperative cardiology consultations.


Alterations in preoperative assessment testing clinic consultation algorithms, education, and staffing can significantly reduce the use of preoperative cardiology consultations while improving their overall yield.

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