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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 786-790

Preoperative pregnancy testing in surgical patients: How useful is policy of routine testing

Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, Maulana Azad Medical College and Associated Hospitals, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sukhyanti Kerai
Department of Anaesthesiology xand Critical Care, Maulana Azad Medical College and Associated Hospitals, New Delhi - 110 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ija.IJA_293_19

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Surgery in a patient with unrecognised pregnancy has serious ethical and medicolegal implications. There are no guidelines in India for preoperative pregnancy testing (POPT) in surgical patients. This review was undertaken to ascertain utility of routine POPT and whether any specific indication for POPT could be suggested. We performed a literature search to identify publications pertaining to POPT in surgical patients. Searches included PubMed, Google Scholar and internet search for national guidelines. Studies pertaining to incidence of unrecognised pregnancy, cost-effectiveness of POPT, effect of surgery and anaesthesia on pregnancy are included. We excluded articles which were available in languages other than English and those whose full texts were unavailable. Most of the literature about reproductive outcomes after anaesthesia exposure is based on old data. The evidence for teratogenic effect of anaesthetic drugs on human foetus is still inconclusive. Apart from anaesthesia and surgery, the outcome after surgery in unrecognised pregnant patient depends on other factors such as indication for surgery, high incidence of foetal loss in early pregnancy, stress and lifestyle of patient. As it is difficult to unsnarl the effect of these factors, POPT should be offered to all patients who based on history could be possibly pregnant. The cost-effectiveness of POPT appears doubtful, but considering costs associated with miscarriages and medicolegal litigations due to unclear association with anaesthesia, it may indeed be cost-effective.

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