A history and physical examination, focusing on risk factors for cardiac, pulmonary and infectious complications, and a determination of a patient's functional capacity, are essential to any preoperative evaluation. In addition, the type of surgery influences the overall perioperative risk and the need for further cardiac evaluation. Routine laboratory studies are rarely helpful except to monitor known disease states. Patients with good functional capacity do not require preoperative cardiac stress testing in most surgical cases. Unstable angina, myocardial infarction within six weeks and aortic or peripheral vascular surgery place a patient into a high-risk category for perioperative cardiac complications. Patients with respiratory disease may benefit from perioperative use of bronchodilators or steroids. Patients at increased risk of pulmonary complications should receive instruction in deep-breathing exercises or incentive spirometry. Assessment of nutritional status should be performed. An albumin level of less than 3.2 mg per dL (32 g per L) suggests an increased risk of complications. Patients deemed at risk because of compromised nutritional status may benefit from pre- and postoperative nutritional supplementation.





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