Open Access Open Badges Research article

Development of a perioperative medicine research agenda: a cross sectional survey

Nadia A Khan1*, Taha Taher2, Finlay A McAlister2, Andre Ferland1, Norman R Campbell1, William A Ghali1 and for the Canadian Perioperative Research Group

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 4N1, Canada

2 Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Walter Mackenzie Center, 8440-112 St., Edmonton, AB, T6G 2B7, Canada

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BMC Surgery 2004, 4:11  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-4-11

Published: 20 September 2004



Post-operative complications are a significant source of morbidity and mortality for patients undergoing surgery. However, there is little research in the emerging field of perioperative medicine beyond cardiac risk stratification. We sought to determine the research priorities for perioperative medicine using a cross sectional survey of Canadian and American general internists.


Surveys were electronically sent to 312 general internists from the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine and 130 internists from the perioperative medicine research interest group within the US based Society of General Internal Medicine. The questionnaire contained thirty research questions and respondents were asked to rate the priority of these questions for future study.


The research topics with the highest ratings included: the need for tight control of diabetes mellitus postoperatively and the value of starting aspirin on patients at increased risk for postoperative cardiac events. Research questions evaluating the efficacy and safety of perioperative interventions had higher ratings than questions relating to the prediction of postoperative risk. Questions relating to the yield of preoperative diagnostic tests had the lowest ratings (p < 0.001 for differences across these categories).


The results of this survey suggest that practicing general internists believe that interventions studies are a priority within perioperative medicine. These findings should help prioritize research in this emerging field.