To Pregnancy Test or Not to Pregnancy Test?…That is the Question

January 15, 2019

We commonly see confusion as to requirements for pregnancy testing prior to surgical procedures. Some institutions mandate testing for females in certain age groups, sometimes supported, sometimes not supported by their anesthesia provider group. Many refer to the American Society of Anesthesiologists task force on Preanesthesia Evaluation (PAE) for support of mandated testing. In a review of the ASA position on the topic in the American Society of Anesthesiologists Monitor, Stephen Jackson MD clarifies that the PAE in fact recommends that Pregnancy Testing should be offered (not mandated) for females of childbearing age and that informed consent should be obtained for the testing. He further clarifies that the ASA Task Force believes that the literature is inadequate to inform patients or physicians on whether anesthesia causes harmful effects in early pregnancy.