Anesthesia Pre-Surgical Evaluation Clinic

Getting an Anesthesia Evaluation Before Your Surgery

When patients have a surgery, they receive anesthesia to make them unconscious or extremely relaxed so they don’t feel the pain of the surgery.

Doctors trained as anesthesiologists or nurses trained as nurse anesthetists deliver that anesthesia and are always present to monitor the patient’s condition throughout the procedure and afterward.

What many patients don’t realize is the experts’ work on their case begins days before the surgery.

The Importance of an Evaluation

Anesthesia experts evaluate patients either in a clinic or by phone a week or so before their surgery. Certain medical conditions or procedures determine whether this evaluation can occur over the phone or in a clinic.

The typical pre-operative visit gives the anesthesia team a good idea of the patient’s overall condition and any risks that should be addressed before the surgery can safely be undertaken. In addition to interview questions, the team will review the patients’ health history and results of tests and exams leading up to the surgery.

The interviewer determines how certain factors might affect breathing and heart function during the surgery. These factors include:

  • Previous heart surgery
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Shortness of breath
  • Previous strokes
  • Any anatomical variations that could affect breathing
  • Previous problems with anesthesia
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • and others

Interviewers may use the anesthesia evaluation to prepare patients for the surgery experience and to alleviate fears or anxiety. This can be especially helpful for children.

A Detailed Plan for Your Care

Based on all the information gathered, the anesthesia team puts together a detailed plan that maps the safest means for providing anesthesia and pain control during the surgery. The plan also builds in sub-plans so that if things change quickly in the operating room, the patient’s condition is taken into account for all possible next steps.

Evidence based on thousands of surgeries performed at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics each year points to better surgical outcomes when patients have an in-depth anesthesia evaluation before surgery. The findings of the evaluation are shared with the entire care team so that during the procedure, everyone caring for the patient is making decisions based on the safest outcome for the patient.

Prepare for Your Anesthesia Evaluation

If you follow with any providers outside of the University of Iowa Healthcare system, it is very helpful for you to send or bring your medical records with you to this appointment. If you see a heart or lung doctor, please contact them to inform them of your upcoming surgery to determine if they would like to see you prior to surgery. Having your personal providers involved can be very helpful to us when determining a plan for your care.

Medical records that are helpful for you to fax or bring with you include your most recent:

  • Clinic note(s)
  • Lab results
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Stress test or myocardial perfusion scan
  • Chest x-ray
  • Carotid ultrasound
  • Pacemaker or implanted cardiac defibrillator interrogation

Records can be faxed ahead of time to our Anesthesia Pre-surgical Evaluation Clinic at 1-319-353-7923.

Care Team

Phone Callers

  • Rhonda Tack, RN
  • Doris Hotop, RN


  • Tina Jaeger