Background: Echocardiography is not recommended for routine pre-surgical evaluation but may have value for patients at high risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). The objective of this study was to evaluate whether pre-operative echocardiography is associated with lower risk of post-operative MACE among patients with coronary artery disease. Methods: Using administrative and registry data, we examined associations of echocardiography within 3 months prior to surgery with postoperative MACE (myocardial infarction, revascularization, or death within 30 days) among patients with coronary artery disease undergoing elective, non-cardiac surgeries in the United States Veterans Affairs healthcare system in 2000-2012. Results: Echocardiography preceded 4,378 (16.4%) of 26,641 surgeries. MACE occurred within 30 days following 944 (3.5%) surgeries. A 10% higher case-mix adjusted rate of pre-operative echocardiography assessed at the hospital level was associated with a hospital-level risk of MACE that was 1.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.1%, 2.0%) higher overall and 1.7% (95% CI 0.2%, 3.2%) higher among patients with recent myocardial infarction, valvular heart disease, or heart failure. At the patient level, pre-operative echocardiography was associated with an odds ratio for MACE of 1.9 (95% CI 1.7,2.2) overall and 1.8 (95% CI 1.5, 2.2) among patients with recent myocardial infarction, valvular heart disease, or heart failure adjusting for MACE risk factors. Conclusions: Pre-operative echocardiography was not associated with lower risk of post-operative MACE, even in a high risk population. Future guidelines should encourage pre-operative echocardiography only in specific patients with cardiovascular disease among whom findings can be translated into effective changes in care.
- Major adverse cardiac events