Harvard Heart Letter

Protecting the heart during noncardiac surgery

New guidelines simplify ways to protect the heart before and after general surgery.

It would only be fair if trouble with your ticker guaranteed good health elsewhere in the body. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. Most people with heart disease have other ailments, including some that require surgery.

New guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association aim to take some of the stress "" and stress testing "" out of noncardiac surgery. They don't, of course, offer a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, the strategies outlined depend on the urgency and type of the planned operation, as well as the status of an individual's heart disease and his or her general function.

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