Background: Routine preoperative screening tests before low-risk surgery cannot be justified if the risks to patients are not outweighed by benefits. Several studies and professional guidelines suggest avoiding screening tests prior to minor operations. We aimed to assess the prevalence and patient characteristics associated with low-value preoperative tests (LVTs) prior to carpal tunnel release (CTR) at an academic medical center. Methods: From electronic medical records, we identified patients aged =18 who underwent CTR from 2015 to 2017. We determined the occurrence of 9 common LVTs, such as complete blood count (CBC), basic metabolic profile (BMP), and electrocardiogram (ECG), in the 30 days prior to CTR. Multivariable logistic and Poisson regression were used to identify factors associated with receiving any LVT and the number of LVTs, respectively. Results: Among 572 patients, 248 (43.4%) had at least 1 LVT. The most common tests were ECG (31.3% of CTRs), CBC (27.3% of CTRs), and BMP (23.6% of CTRs). Patient factors associated with higher odds of receiving LVT included older age, higher Elixhauser comorbidity score, and general or regional anesthesia (vs monitored anesthesia care). Conclusions: Low-value preoperative tests were frequently received by patients undergoing CTR and were associated with anesthesia type, age, and number of comorbidities. Although our study focused on CTR, these results likely have implications for other commonly performed low-risk procedures. These findings can help guide efforts to improve the quality and value of surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome and facilitate the development of strategies to reduce LVT, such as audit feedback and provider education.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1558944720906498
View details for PubMedID 32100568