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Routine testing before cataract surgery did not reduce medical adverse events

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 QUESTION: In patients having cataract surgery, does routine pre-operative medical testing reduce medical adverse events?


Randomised (allocation concealed*), blinded (outcome assessors),* controlled trial with 1 week follow up.


9 clinical centres in the US and Canada.


18 189 patients (mean age 74 y, 61% women) who were scheduled to have 19 557 cataract operations between 1995 and 1997. Exclusion criteria were age <50 years, general anaesthesia, myocardial infarction within the previous 3 months, pre-operative medical testing in the previous 28 days, or inability to speak English or Spanish. 19 250 cataract operations were done, and 19 217 operations (98% of enrolled operations) had 1 week of follow up.


Each patient received a pre-operative medical assessment. Each patient with a scheduled cataract operation in a single eye …

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  • Source of funding: US Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.

  • For correspondence: Dr O Schein, 116 Wilmer Building, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287-9019, USA. Fax +1 410 614 9651.

  • * See glossary.