Laboratory evaluations and studies
Here we must ask the question, “Can the results from additional tests influence my anesthetic and post-anesthetic management?” In the majority of cases, the answer turns out to be “No,” but there are many exceptions. Among them might be a determination of serum potassium if we fear that the patient is hyperkalemic, in which case a succinylcholine-induced release of potassium would be dangerous.
Coagulation studies would be needed if we plan regional anesthesia and have reason to worry about a bleeding diathesis or thrombocytopenia. Uncontrolled bleeding into the nerve plexus can cause permanent damage. In general, labora-tory and other studies should be ordered as indicated from the medical history, and only if they might have an effect on intra- or post-operative management, or perhaps if the risk analysis may suggest canceling or altering the procedure itself. For example, suppose we detect a carotid bruit during the pre-anesthetic evaluation of a patient scheduled for elective hip replacement. While an asymp-tomatic bruit may not be an indication for operative repair, a significant carotid stenosis may temper our enthusiasm for induced hypotension (intentional blood pressure reduction to reduce intra-operative blood loss).