Patients scheduled for routine surgeries often overestimate their risk of dying from the procedure, sometimes resulting in unnecessary anxiety and delayed procedures. Better education, including use of a risk calculator, could reduce some of these fears.

“Developing anxiety is very common for patients before surgery and it can lead to poor outcomes after surgery such as severe pain and heart attack,” said Gildasio De Oliveira, Jr., M.D., an author of a study recently published by Northwestern Medicine researchers. “We hypothesized in this study that patients' overestimation of surgical mortality risk contributed to the development of anxiety before surgery.”

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