Objectives: to outline the appropriate pre-operative cardiac work-up for patients who are scheduled for major peripheral vascular surgery.
Design: review of the literature.
Materials and methods: a review of the literature focusing on studies that have correlated the pre-operative cardiac work-up patients receive to the cardiac morbidity and mortality following vascular surgery. Only studies with level A evidence were included.
Results: peri-operative beta blockade has been shown to decrease cardiac complications after vascular surgery in all risk groups. Non-invasive cardiac testing is only necessary for patients in the intermediate/high risk group. Coronary revascularization should only be considered after a positive non-invasive cardiac test.
Conclusions: patients must be risk stratified pre-operatively based on history and physical examination. Low risk patients should receive peri-operative beta blockade only with no further non-invasive testing. On the other hand, intermediate and high risk patients should undergo non-invasive cardiac testing before going to the operating room.