BACKGROUND: The current study evaluated whether the level of preoperative anxiety assessed by the state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) affects cardiovascular response during anesthetic induction. Furthermore, we evaluated the utility of the preoperative anxiety scale as a predictive factor for hemodynamic changes. METHODS: One hundred twenty patients who were scheduled to undergo elective surgery under general anesthesia were enrolled in this prospective study. The patients were asked to fill out STAI questionnaires the night before the day of surgery. For 5 minutes after tracheal intubation, changes in vital signs were recorded. The correlation between STAI scores and the percent changes in vital signs during the induction of anesthesia for each subgroup was assessed. In addition, the predictability of the 20% change in vital signs by STAI scores was analyzed using receiver operating characteristics curves. RESULTS: The state anxiety scores of patients 45 years of age or older showed a significant correlation with percent changes in mean blood pressure and heart rate, whereas the state anxiety scores in other subgroups showed no significant correlation with changes in vital signs during the induction of anesthesia. Furthermore, the state anxiety scores in patients 45 years of age or older were shown to be useful in predicting a 20% change in vital signs during anesthetic induction. CONCLUSIONS: The state anxiety scores of patients 45 years of age or above could be a useful tool for predicting changes in vital signs during anesthetic induction. Thus, physician should be mindful of preoperative anxiety.