In this large retrospective cohort of patients who had undergone intermediate or high risk non-cardiac surgery from 1994-2004, researchers evaluated the prevalence and benefit of pre-operative anesthesia consultation. The prevalence increased from 19% to 53% from 1994 to 2003. After propensity-matched adjustment, length of stay was significantly reduced (from 8.5 to 8.2 days), but there was no difference in 1 month or 1 year mortality. Given that over half of patients are now receiving pre-operative anesthesia consults, further studies will need to determine which patients derive a benefit, so we can effectively utilize anesthesia consults only when necessary (abstract).
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.