The management of patients with ischaemic heart disease undergoing non-cardiac elective surgery: a survey of Australian and New Zealand clinical practice.

Anaesthesia

PubMedID: 15096236

Price DJ, Kluger MT, Fletcher T. The management of patients with ischaemic heart disease undergoing non-cardiac elective surgery: a survey of Australian and New Zealand clinical practice. Anaesthesia. 2004;59(5):428-34.
Improvements in patient risk stratification and peri-operative beta-blockade have been suggested as methods which can reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with known cardiac risk factors. A postal questionnaire was sent to all Australian and New Zealand teaching hospitals to identify patterns of pre-operative cardiac risk evaluation and methods of peri-operative beta-blocker use. In all, 67 replies were evaluated (64% response rate). Specialist anaesthetists are present in the majority of pre-admission clinics (78%), with a designated peri-operative physician in 9%. Further cardiological referral was possible in almost all institutions (96%), and specific peri-operative physician referral in 54%. Waiting times for specialist consultation were < 7 days in the majority of cases. Whilst 79% of institutions used peri-operative beta-blockade, specific protocols were available in only 10%. In 60% of institutions, beta-blockers were administered to high-risk patients, and in 25% they were given to intermediate risk group patients. There was a wide range in the duration of pre- and postoperative beta-blocker administration. Whilst peri-operative risk assessment appears to be consistent, the pattern of beta-blockade, a known beneficial intervention, is variable. Reasons need to be identified, protocols developed and consistent administration targeted for further improvements to be made.