Conference Coverage

Study: Preop EKGs have little utility for benign hysterectomy



– Preoperative electrocardiograms (EKGs) had no effect on management or perioperative complications in women undergoing benign hysterectomy over a 12-month period at a single medical center, according to a review of records.

Of 587 patients included in the review, 182 (31%) underwent EKG as part of their preoperative evaluation, and the majority of those were indicated according to institutional criteria (166; 28%) or National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines (177; 30%), Nemi M. Shah, MD, reported at the annual scientific meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons.

“EKG was indicated in 91% of these patients according to institutional criteria, and in 97% of patients per NICE criteria,” said Dr. Shah, a third-year resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

By institutional criteria, hypertension was the most common indication (68% of cases), and by NICE criteria, American Society of Anesthesia class 2 physical status was the most common indication (80% of cases), she noted, adding that obesity, which was present in 70% of patients, was the most common comorbidity classifying patients with American Society of Anesthesia class 2 or above.

Of the 182 EKGs performed, findings were abnormal in 89, but further workup was pursued in only 16 patients, and included repeat EKG, echocardiogram, and/or stress testing and cardiology consultation. Surgical delays of 1 and 4 months occurred in 2 patients as a result of the additional workup, and ultimately, all planned hysterectomies were completed by the primary surgical team without changes in management, she said.

Perioperative complications occurred in two patients, and included nonspecific postinduction EKG changes that led to surgery being aborted in one patient who had left ventricular hypertrophy on the preoperative EKG, and failed extubation in a patient with airway edema whose preoperative EKG showed a nonacute inferior infarct.

For the first, cardiology was consulted and determined the findings to be benign; the patient underwent hysterectomy at a later date without complications. The second patient was taken to the surgical intensive care unit for management, Dr. Shah said.

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