A prospective multicenter evaluation of preoperative hemostatic screening tests

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      Background: Several retrospective and four prospective reports have questioned the need for routine preoperative hemostatic screening tests (PHST) in general surgery.
      Patients and methods: The results of four standard tests (prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, platelet count, and bleeding time) were prospectively compared with patient history and clinical data in a multicenter study of 3,242 consecutive patients. The patients were divided into four groups: group A (n = 1,951) had no clinical or PHST abnormalities; group B (n = 340) had no clinical and one or more PHST abnormalities; group C (n = 779) had one or more clinical and no PHST abnormalities; group D (n = 172) had both clinical and PHST abnormalities.
      Results: Preoperative modifications of guidelines (postponed operations and ordering of additional hemostatic tests) were significantly more frequent in both groups of patients with PHST abnormalities (groups B and D), but specific treatment to correct hemostatic disorders was prescribed only when clinical abnormalities were also present (group D). Intraoperatively, modifications of anesthetic and surgical vigilance (planning of increased number of blood units, vascular catheter placement, and number of patients requiring transfusion) were significantly more frequent in group D. Postoperatively, all groups had similar incidences of hematoma or bruises, volumes of blood loss per drainage, reoperations to control hemorrhage, and mortality due to bleeding (n = 5).
      Conclusions: Our results suggest that PHST should not be performed routinely, but only in patients with abnormal clinical data. Such a policy necessitates a thorough history—including answers to a specific questionnaire like those used in prospective studies—and a rigorous, well-conducted physical examination.
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