When children have a preoperative fever, anesthesiologists must help determine whether to postpone or proceed with surgery, as fever may be a sign of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). Such infections are a known risk factor for perioperative respiratory adverse events (PRAEs), which are still one of the prime causes of anesthetic mortality and morbidity in pediatric patients. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, preoperative assessments have become drastically more complex as hospitals strive to balance practicality and safety. In our facility, if pediatric patients presented with preoperative fever, we used the FilmArray® Respiratory Panel 2.1 to determine whether to postpone or proceed with surgery. This is a single-center retrospective observational study evaluating the efficacy of the FilmArray® Respiratory Panel 2.1 as a preoperative screening test. This study included pediatric patients scheduled for elective surgeries between March 2021 and February 2022. FilmArray was used if a patient had a preoperative fever (determined by axillary temperature, ≥38°C for <1-year-old, ≥37.5°C for ≥1-year-old) between hospital admission and before surgery. We excluded patients if they had apparent symptoms of URTI. In the FilmArray positive group, 11 of 25 (44%) cases developed subsequent symptoms after surgery was canceled. No patients in the negative group developed symptoms. The proportion of the development of subsequent symptoms between the FilmArray positive and negative groups was statistically significant (p < .001, odds ratio: 29.6, 95% confidence interval: [3.80-1356.01]). Our retrospective observational study revealed that 44% of the FilmArray positive group subsequently developed symptoms, and no PRAEs were observed in the FilmArray negative group. We suggest that FilmArray could be useful as a screening test for pediatric patients with preoperative fever.

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