preoperative care

Last reviewed 01/2018

Preoperative care may be considered in terms of psychological and physical preparation of the patient for surgery.

Psychological preparation involves informing and obtaining written consent for the procedure and allaying any unneccessary fears that the patient may have.

Physical preparation involves:

  • ensuring that the patient's diagnosis is correct and that symptoms have not changed.
  • assessment of the anaesthetic risks
  • making sure that the patient is as fit as possible

A thorough history and examination should be carried out, with an appropriate focus on operative and anaesthetic risk factors. Cardiovascular and respiratory fitness should be considered, as should any pre-existing medical condition, allergy or drug therapy including any oral contraceptive. Previous medical and anaesthetic history should be elicited and if surgery is to be postponed, it may be appropriate to give advice about losing weight, stopping smoking or reducing alcohol consumption.

Carry out the clinically indicated tests and then ensure that the patient is optimal for theatre i.e. he/she has been fasted, is well hydrated or has had necessary bowel or skin preparation etc.