Perioperative cardiac evaluation for noncardiac surgery noninvasive cardiac testing

B. R. Chaitman, D. D. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Prognostic risk stratification to identify perioperative and long-term cardiac risk in selected patients undergoing noncardiac surgery is part of good clinical practice. Exercise variables associated with significant increased risk include poor functional capacity (eg, <4 metabolic equivalents), marked exercise-induced ST segment shift or angina at low workloads, and inability to increase or actually decrease systolic blood pressure with progressive exercise. Approximately 40% of patients tested before peripheral vascular surgery will have an abnormal exercise electrocardiogram (ECG). The predictive value for a perioperative event, ie, death or myocardial infarction, ranges from 5% to 25% for a positive test and 90% to 95% for a negative test. Whereas exercise cardiac imaging is the modality of choice in patients with a noninterpretable exercise ECG, pharmacological stress imaging should be used in the 30% to 50% of patients who require perioperative noninvasive risk stratification and are unable to perform an adequate level of exercise to test cardiac reserve. Myocardial perfusion variables predictive of increased cardiac events include severity of the perfusion defect, number of reversible defects, extent of fixed and reversible defects, increased lung uptake of thallium-201, and marked ST segment changes associated with angina during the test. The reported sensitivity and specificity of dobutamine-induced echocardiographic wall motion abnormalities in patients with peripheral vascular disease is similar to myocardial perfusion scintigraphy, but the confidence limits are wider due to the smaller sample size in these more recent studies. In conclusion, noninvasive cardiac testing should be used selectively in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery; the results provide useful estimates of short-and long- term risk of cardiac events, and the magnitude of abnormal response on noninvasive testing should be used to formulate decisions regarding the need for coronary angiography and subsequent revascularization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-418
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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