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In June 2003, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) produced clinical guidelines on preoperative testing for patients undergoing elective surgery.1 It made recommendations on the use of the following investigations: chest x ray, ECG, full blood count, clotting profile, urea and electrolytes, random blood glucose, urine analysis, arterial blood gases and lung function tests. The recommendations were presented in the form of easy-to-use “look-up” tables, which used a colour-coded traffic light system to indicate tests that were recommended, to be considered and not recommended. …
Competing interests: None declared.