Routine preoperative testing: a systematic review of the evidence

Munro J, Booth A, Nicholl J
Record ID 31998008180
Authors' objectives:

To review the available evidence on the value of routine preoperative testing in healthy or asymptomatic adults. To assess the completeness of existing reviews of preoperative testing and how applicable their conclusions are to the UK. To identify areas for further research.

Authors' recommendations: The tests reviewed produce a wide range of abnormal results, even in apparently healthy individuals. The clinical importance of many of these abnormal results is uncertain. The tests lead to changes in clinical management in only a very small proportion of patients, and for some tests virtually never. The clinical value of changes in management which do occur in response to an abnormal test results may also be uncertain in some instances. The power of preoperative tests to predict adverse postoperative outcomes in asymptomatic patients is either weak or non-existent. However, the same tests may have greater predictive power in defined high-risk populations. For all the tests reviewed, a policy of routine testing in apparently healthy individuals is likely to lead to little, if any, benefit. It remains possible that routine testing could still be of some benefit in asymptomatic patients in defined groups, such as those over a given age. No good evidence exists to suggest that this will be the case but conversely, no good evidence exists to suggest that it will not.
Project Status: Completed
URL for project:
Year Published: 1997
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Preoperative Care
Organisation Name: NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: 2009 Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.