To evaluate the anaesthetist’s ability to predict abnormalities in preanaesthetic
blood test results obtained from cats and dogs older than 8 years and to describe
the impact of these preanaesthetic blood test results on the American Society Anesthesiologists
(ASA) physical status classification, anaesthetic protocol and procedures.
Observational, prospective, clinical multi-centre study.
A total of 333 cats and dogs.
After a clinical examination and review of the animal´s clinical history the anaesthetist
completed the first part of a set of questions including ASA status and anticipated
abnormalities in blood tests. After this, blood results were presented, and the anaesthetist
completed the second part of the set of questions, including changes in ASA status
or anaesthetic protocol, and procedure delay or cancellation. Preanaesthetic blood
tests included: haematocrit, total proteins, electrolytes, glucose, lactate, urea
and creatinine. Examiners were classified as senior clinicians, clinicians, anaesthesia
residents or nurses, and interns. For statistical analysis, the chi-square test was
used. A p value < 0.05 was considered significant.
The ASA status increased in three dogs and one cat (1.2%); in two of them abnormalities
were not expected by the examiner. The anaesthetic protocol changed in seven animals
(2.1%); the most common change related to fluid therapy. Anaesthesia was delayed in
two dogs (0.6%) to administer intravenous fluid therapy. No cases were cancelled.
Abnormalities were more commonly found [37 out of 58 assessments (approximately 64%)]
when the anaesthetist predicted them compared to when they were unexpected [49 of
275 assessments (approximately 18%); p < 0.001].
Conclusions and clinical relevance
Routine non-targeted blood tests in cats and dogs older than 8 years led to few changes
in the anaesthetic management, and anaesthetists correctly predicted blood test results
in most cases.