Preoperative Laboratory Testing

Anesthesiol Clin. 2016 Mar;34(1):43-58. doi: 10.1016/j.anclin.2015.10.005.


Routine preoperative testing is not cost-effective, because it is unlikely to identify significant abnormalities. Abnormal findings from routine testing are more likely to be false positive, are costly to pursue, introduce a new risk, increase the patient's anxiety, and are inconvenient to the patient. Abnormal findings rarely alter the surgical or anesthetic plan, and there is usually no association between perioperative complications and abnormal laboratory results. Incidental findings and false positive results may lead to increased hospital visits and admissions. Preoperative testing needs to be done based on a targeted history and physical examination and the type of surgery.

Keywords: Choosing wisely; Coagulation studies; Complication; Electrocardiograms; Patient safety; Pregnancy testing; Preoperative testing; Preprocedure testing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Preoperative Period*
  • Risk Assessment