Retrospective Review of Universal Preoperative Pregnancy Testing: Results and Perspectives

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Unrecognized pregnancy in patients presenting for elective surgery is of particular concern due to the potential for significant complications. Accurate and inexpensive urine pregnancy tests are widely available in the developed world. As a result, universal preoperative pregnancy screening is commonly implemented. However, the utility of such routine testing is controversial. We retrospectively studied 8245 immediate presurgery pregnancy tests at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Phoenix, AZ, and found 11 positive tests of which 6 were false positives. We constructed a census-based approximation for unrecognized pregnancies, which shows significantly low pretest probability in this patient population. Taken together, the utility of immediate universal presurgical pregnancy testing is questionable.

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