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Preoperative laboratory testing of cataractous patients: necessity or overkill?

Poster Details

First Author: E.Kanonidou GREECE

Co Author(s):    C. Kanonidou   E. Lokovitis   L. Papazisis        

Abstract Details


Preoperative laboratory testing is done to predict risk, alter management, and improve outcomes. Cataract surgery is a small incision surgery usually performed under local anaesthesia as an outpatient procedure. Some clinicians recommend against the use of routine testing in asymptomatic patients undergoing low-risk procedures while others believe it should be used in hopes of detecting previously undiagnosed conditions. The aim of the study was to examine whether such tests provide a potential benefit to the patients.


: Department of Ophthalmology, General Hospital of Veria, Veria, Greece.


The medical records of 1583 patients [males/females:784/799, mean age 69 years old(SD 7.3)] who had undergone cataract surgery from 2009 to 2012 were reviewed. All patients had cataract surgery as a day case under local anaesthesia and were medically assessed before the operation. The routine testing included complete blood count, determination of serum glucose, urea, creatinine levels, detection of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), electrocardiogram and chest X-ray. Patients with known systemic diseases were excluded from the study.


Previously undiagnosed anaemia (Hb<13.5 gr/dl in adult males,<12 gr/dl in adult females) was detected in 19.2% of the patients. The severity of it led to the postponement or cancellation of the surgery in 3 cases. The prevalence of platelet count abnormalities was 4.8%. Pathological values of biochemical parameters indicative of abnormal renal function were found in 13.1%. 11.5% of the patients had impaired fasting glucose levels (100-125 mg/dl) which is considered a pre-diabetic state while 16.6% had glucose concentrations >125 mg/dl. HBsAg was present in 3.7% of the participants. The investigation also revealed 2 cases of previously undiagnosed myocardial infarction,10 of unknown arrhythmia and 1 of lung cancer.


In cataractous patients preoperative investigations are performed to effectively assess the risks and management of anaesthesia and surgery. This routine testing does not seem to have a significant effect on the operative outcomes in asymptomatic patients. Nevertheless, they could be benefited from it as mainly because of age they usually have coexisting diseases reflected on the laboratory results and thus a number of health issues new to them can be detected.

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