Value of routine pre-operative chest X-ray in patients over the age of 40 years

Document Type





The overall usefulness of routine chest X-ray, its cost benefit ratio and effect on anaesthetic management in patients over the age of 40 years was assessed. Four hundred and seventy-seven consecutive patients undergoing elective non-cardiopulmonary surgery with no cardiopulmonary diseases, having a routine preoperative chest x-ray were selected at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. Twenty five (5.2%) were excluded from the study as their chest x-ray were not available at the time of surgery. Twenty eight (8.3%) below and 33 (28.7%) above 60 years of age had abnormalities in chest x-ray but the difference in cardiac abnormalities in two age groups was insignificant. The frequency of lung field abnormalities increased with age from 3.2% in less than 60 to 15.6% in patients above 60 years of age. The difference in frequency of occurrence of lung field abnormalities was statistically significant in case of lung abnormalities. Only one case required change in anaesthetic management based on routine preoperative chest x-ray. Our study showed that the incidence of significant lung field abnormalities increased in patients aged 60 years and above with no history of chronic obstructive airway disease. We recommend routine preoperative chest x-ray be carried out only in patients over the age of 60 years.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Pakistan Medical Association