- Functional status has been shown to be reliable for prediction of perioperative and long-term cardiac events. In highly functional asymptomatic patients, management is rarely changed by preoperative stress testing. It is therefore appropriate to proceed with the planned surgery without it.
Unnecessary stress testing can be harmful because it increases the cost of care and delays treatment without altering surgical or perioperative management in a meaningful way. Furthermore, low-risk patients who undergo preoperative stress testing are more likely to obtain additional invasive testing with risks of complications.
Cardiac complications are significant contributors to morbidity and mortality after non-cardiac thoracic surgery, and it is important to identify patients preoperatively who are at risk for these complications. The most valuable tools in this endeavor include a thorough history, physical exam and resting EKG. Cardiac stress testing can be an important adjunct in this evaluation, but it should only be used when clinically indicated.