Value of routine preoperative tests for coagulation before elective cranial surgery. results of an institutional audit and a nationwide survey of neurosurgical centers in Pakistan

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Routine preoperative blood testing has become a dogma. The general practice is to order preoperative workup as a knee-jerk response rather than individualize it for each patient. The fact that the bleeding brain tends to swell, which coupled with limited options for proximal control, packing, and overall hemostasis, leads to an overemphasis on the preoperative coagulation profile.
This is a retrospective review of the medical records of patients admitted at Aga Khan University Hospital from January 2010 to December 2015 for an elective craniotomy. The hospital registry was used to identify files for review. Data were collected on a predefined proforma. A nationwide survey was performed, and 30 neurosurgery centers were contacted across Pakistan to confirm the practice of preoperative workup.
The survey revealed that all centers had a similar practice of preoperative workup. This included complete blood count, serum electrolytes, and coagulation profile, including prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), and international normalized ratio (INR). A total of 1800 files were reviewed. Nine (0.5%) patients were found to have deranged clotting profile without any predictive history of clotting derangement; 56% were male and 44% were female. Median age was 32 years with an interquartile range of 27 years. Median aPTT was (40.8 with 20.8 IQR). Median INR was (1.59 with 0.48 IQR). Median blood loss was (400 with 50 IQR). No significant association between coagulation profile (aPTT, INR) and blood loss was found (P = 0.85, r = -0.07). CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that patients without a history of coagulopathy and normal physical examination do not require routine coagulation screening before elective craniotomy.


World Neurosurg