Preparing the medically compromised patient for surgery requires identifying and treating preoperative risk factors and anticipating postoperative complications. Preoperative evaluation of all patients should include careful screening for bleeding disorders and prior anesthetic complications and assessment of nutritional status. In addition, patients with preexisting cardiac, pulmonary, and endocrine problems must be identified, since these problems represent the greatest risk factors for post-operative complications. Peri-operative care is more effective when directed at specific organ systems. Communication among internists, anesthesiologists, and surgeons promotes optimal treatment for surgical patients with medical illness.
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