Volume 3, No. 2 • Summer 1988

Statement on Routine Preoperative Laboratory and Diagnostic Screening

(Approved by House of Delegates on October 14, 1987)

Preanesthetic laboratory and diagnostic testing is often essential; however, no routine* laboratory or diagnostic screenings** test is necessary for the preanesthetic evaluation of patients. Appropriate indications for ordering tests include the identification of specific clinical indicators or risk factors (e.g. age, pre-existing disease, magnitude of the surgical procedure). Anesthesiologists, anesthesiology departments or health care facilities should develop appropriate guidelines for preanesthetic screening tests in selected populations after considering the probable contribution of each test to patient outcome. Individual anesthesiologists should order test(s) when, in their judgement, the results may influence decisions regarding risks and management of the anesthesia and surgery. Legal requirements for laboratory testing where they exist should be observed.

*Routine refers to a policy of performing a test or tests without regard to clinical indications in an individual patient.

** Screening means efforts to detect disease in unselected populations of asymptomatic patients.