Preoperative cardiac assessment (checking the heart) is meant to find patients who might have serious heart problems if they have surgery. Sometimes doctors use special heart tests to check for these problems, and in Ontario they most often use a test called resting echocardiography. In fiscal year 2011/12, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences discovered about 10,000 preoperative assessments of cardiac risk were performed through resting echocardiograms in Ontario.
Health Quality Ontario Reviews Preoperative Resting Echocardiography for Noncardiac Surgery
Noninvasive (without putting tools into the body) cardiac stress tests (checking the heart for problems that might appear when the patient is not relaxed) are often used to find serious heart problems that might appear during surgery. Three types of tests are used: stress echocardiography, radionuclide myocardial perfusion imaging, and exercise/treadmill test.
Advantages to using stress echocardiography include easy availability and no need to inject substances into patients’ veins, no need to use radioactive substances, and no need to expose patients to radiation. Echocardiography provides information about problems in the part of the heart called the ventricle, abnormal valves, and abnormal motion in the walls of the heart.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: Relevant language in the Schedule of Benefits for Physician Services has been updated.