Surgery pre-assessment

You may be asked to attend a clinic for surgery pre-assessment tests 1 to 2 weeks before your operation.

At this clinic your general health and fitness will be determined. A nurse will take your medical history, examine you and take some tests.

Some of the tests you are likely to have before surgery:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Blood pressure test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to check your heart rhythm and is routine for patients undergoing surgery

Other tests you may have include

  • Exercise Tolerance test (tests how your heart copes with exercise)
  • Lung function test (tells the doctors how well your lungs are working)
  • A Faecal (stool) elastase test (tells doctors how well your pancreas is functioning)
  • A glucose tolerance test (tests for diabetes)

Diabetic patients

If you have diabetes and you measure your blood sugars, it is helpful to bring these measurements with you to the pre-assessment clinic.

For diabetic patients who need to take insulin, you will be given insulin before and after your operation and the dose will be adjusted depending on your blood sugar levels. This is known as sliding-scale insulin.

Your Admission date

By the pre-assessment day you should have been given your admission date for surgery. At this point you will also be given information on eating and drinking just before the operation and what to do about the medicines you are already taking.

Eating before surgery

Surgery for pancreatic cancer is a major operation and you will be assessed by your medical team to make sure you are fit enough for surgery and it is the right choice for you.

If you are losing or have lost weight you may be advised to try and build up your weight and strength prior to the operation. If weight loss is due to damage to the pancreas then you may be prescribed pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy to ensure you are absorbing all of the nutrients from your food.

Suggestions to help you gain or maintain weight include

  • Eat little and often, aiming for a small meal or snack every 2-3 hours
  • Have your biggest meal when you are most hungry
  • Eat more protein rich foods (meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans, lentils and pulses)
  • Fortify your meals through swaps such as milk for cream or the addition of milk powder to dairy or mashed potato. Try adding cheese to sauces or grated onto meals. Top fruits or cereals with honey or golden syrup.
  • Your doctor or dietitian may recommend high calorie prescription supplements which come in many forms; juice, milkshakes and puddings.

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Information Product No. PCA0012 v1 pgs 18 - 19 | Published: 15/10/2019 | Last Updated: 16/10/2019 | Next Review Due: 15/10/2022