Usefulness of transthoracic echocardiography as a tool for risk stratification of patients undergoing major noncardiac surgery

Am J Cardiol. 2001 Mar 1;87(5):505-9. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(00)01421-1.


Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is frequently ordered before noncardiac surgery, although its ability to predict perioperative cardiac complications is uncertain. To evaluate the incremental information provided by TTE after consideration of clinical data for prediction of cardiac complications after noncardiac surgery, 570 patients who underwent TTE before major noncardiac surgery at a university hospital were studied. Preoperative clinical data and clinical outcomes were collected prospectively according to a structured protocol. TTE data included left ventricular (LV) function, hypertrophy indexes, and Doppler-derived measurements. In univariate analyses, preoperative systolic dysfunction was associated with postoperative myocardial infarction (odds ratio [OR] 2.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1 to 7.0), cardiogenic pulmonary edema (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.4 to 7.0), and major cardiac complications (OR 2.4, 95% Cl 1.3 to 4.5). Moderate to severe LV hypertrophy, moderate to severe mitral regurgitation, and increased aortic valve gradient were also associated with major cardiac events (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.6; OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.3; OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.0 to 4.5, respectively). In logistic regression analysis, models with echocardiographic variables predicted major cardiac complications significantly better than those that included only clinical variables (c statistic 0.73 vs 0.68; p <0.05). Echocardiographic data added significant information for patients at increased risk for cardiac complications by clinical criteria, but not in otherwise low-risk patients. In conclusion, preoperative TTE before noncardiac surgery can provide independent information about the risk of postoperative cardiac complications in selected patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnostic imaging
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / prevention & control
  • Echocardiography*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Diseases / mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Pulmonary Edema / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Edema / prevention & control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome