Four questions to identify patients with ASA III or higher.


Increased age, obesity, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Physical Status class III and IV have been reported as predictors for mortality and perioperative complications. High-volume institutions rely on central referral services as first contact point for patients. The current study reports on a simple four-step questionnaire to identify patients with ASA-physical status class III and IV to improve referral processes and optimize perioperative work ups.

Materials And Methods

Seven hundred and seventy-five patients who called the physician referral service (PRS) at the author's institution and subsequently underwent surgery were enrolled in this study. The answers to the initial PRS questionnaire were analyzed. The study cohort consisted of 414 women (53.4%) and 361 men (46.6%) with an average age of 61.4 years (range 44-90 years) at the time of surgery.


Binary logistic regression revealed hypertension, diabetes mellitus (using medication), using blood thinner (other than Aspirin) and a number of 4-9 prescribed medication, respectively, as predictors for ASA III and IV. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis identified a sensitivity of 82.4%, a specificity of 82.9%, and an accuracy of 82.8%, when two of these four questions are answered "yes". The area under the curve for this analysis was 0.876 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.845-0.908]. Positive and negative likelihood ratios were 4.8 (95% CI 4.0-5.8) and 0.2 (95% CI 0.1-0.3), respectively.


This study revealed a simple four-step questionnaire to identify patients with ASA III or IV before a medical appointment. This helps to balance referrals between multiple providers in high-volume medical groups.