The leading cause of death following surgery is a cardiac event, and an electrocardiogram is the most common pre-operative test to investigate coronary artery disease. Fifty adults, who required an electrocardiogram, undergoing general surgical procedures, were recruited into this pilot study, which investigated the examination rate of electrocardiographs by doctors pre-operatively. Each tracing was folded in one corner and a paperclip prevented full pre-operative viewing without its removal. Results suggest that 30% of ECGs were not opened and the records of 58% patients overall had no mention of the ECG having been performed. Further analysis showed no correlation with the examination rate of the electrocardiograph with patient age or fitness. If this reflects normal clinical practice, it is sub-optimal use of resources and warrants further audit.