Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether routine laboratory testing affected the clinician's preoperative evaluation and decision-making process for patients undergoing general anesthesia or intravenous sedation in the oral and maxillofacial surgery office.
Patients and methods: This was a prospective evaluation of the records of 458 who required an office general anesthetic or intravenous sedation for routine dentoalveolar surgery. The patients ranged in age from 15 to 54 years and were categorized as American Society of Anesthesiologists Classification I or II. Fifty-two percent were female. All patients underwent a history and physical examination, complete blood cell count, and urine analysis. Female patients were tested for pregnancy by measuring the serum beta human chorionic gonadotropin level. All patients older than 40 years of age were further evaluated by posterior-anterior and lateral chest radiographs, as well as electrocardiography. On the day of surgery, the data were reviewed and analyzed, and specific components of the history were reassessed. The results of the decision-making process were evaluated by one investigator.
Results: From the 458 patients initially enrolled, 78 failed to return on the appointed day. Of the 235 patients requiring general anesthesia who did return on the appointed day, five had aberrant laboratory values (2%). These consisted of one patient with a low hematocrit, one with a low red blood cell count, one with a low white blood cell count, and two with a urine analysis positive for blood. No procedure was canceled based on the aberrant data. Of the 145 patients requiring intravenous sedation who did return on the appointed day, six had aberrant laboratory values (4%). Two patients exhibited elevated white blood cell counts, two possessed low red blood cell counts, one known to have diabetes had an elevated urine glucose, and one patient with an elevated human chorionic gonadotropin level realized that her menstrual cycle was delayed. The latter two patients had their procedures deferred.
Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, a good history and physical examination and then reassessment of key portions of the history were the major factors in the development of the anesthetic treatment plan. Laboratory data had little if any effect on the decision-making process.