Do vascular surgery patients need a cardiology work-up? A review of pre-operative cardiac clearance guidelines in vascular surgery

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2003 Feb;25(2):110-7. doi: 10.1053/ejvs.2002.1797.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Algorithms
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Cardiovascular / standards*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Revascularization*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Preoperative Care / standards*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures* / mortality
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures* / standards


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists