Surgery pre-assessment

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

What is a pre-assessment?

A pre-assessment is an outpatient investigation prior to undergoing a clinical procedure. Tests will be done to ensure the patient has no conditions which might alter the risk benefit balance of the procedure.

Why does this happen prior to admission?

This is to ensure the results of any tests are ready in time for admission. The admission often occurs on the day of the procedure, which shortens the length of any admission and reduces pressure on bed availability.

Why does this sometimes happen before a decision on treatment has been made?

The assessment is aimed at trying to identify additional health issues that would change the level of risk of treatments. This could result in a change in the treatment decision by the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT). If identified, some conditions can be treated/controlled, reducing the risk of any procedure.

What does it involve?

This depends on the proposed intervention but could include the following:

  • Nurse-led health questionnaire
  • Drug history
  • Past medical history
  • Simple blood tests (renal function, glucose tolerance, liver function, clotting etc)
  • Blood pressure
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) – This is a simple test that can be used to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. Sensors attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats.
  • Echocardiography – This is a scan used to look at the heart and nearby blood vessels. It’s a type of ultrasound scan, which means a small probe is used to send out high-frequency sound waves that create echoes when they bounce off different parts of the body.
  • Exercise tolerance tests – The test involves walking on a treadmill and gradually increasing your speed until you experience symptoms such as tiredness, shortness of breath or chest discomfort. When you experience these symptoms, you should tell the physiologist doing the test. The test takes about 30 minutes in total.
  • Pulmonary function tests – These are non-invasive tests which measure how well the lungs are working.

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Information Product № Published 16/04/2024
Last Updated 19/04/2024 Next Review Due 19/04/2027