-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Obese patients are twice
as likely as non-obese patients to develop serious airway
complications while under a general anesthetic, a new study has
And severely obese patients were four times more likely to
develop such problems, according to the report.
In the study, researchers analyzed all major airway
complications that occurred among patients who received general
anesthesia in the United Kingdom in 2008-2009. The focus of the
study was on events that led to severe consequences, such as the
need for a breathing tube to be inserted in the front of the neck,
intensive care unit (ICU) admission, brain damage or death.
The study, which was published online March 29 in the
British Journal of Anaesthesia, is slated for presentation Wednesday at a meeting of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA).
"The report is important for patients and anesthetists alike," study co-author Dr. Nick Woodall, a consultant anesthetist at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in the United Kingdom, said in an RCoA news release.
"The information will enable obese patients to be better informed about the risks of anesthesia and to give informed consent. We hope our findings will encourage anesthetists to recognize these risks and choose anesthetic techniques with a lower risk, such as regional anesthesia, where possible, and also prepare for airway difficulties when anesthetizing obese patients," Woodall said.
The researchers also examined major airway complications in ICU
patients and found that obese patients were more likely to die if
they experienced airway complications while in the ICU, but use of
a breathing monitor called a capnograph can greatly reduce brain
damage and deaths caused by airway problems. The absence of a
capnograph contributed to 74 percent of these types of events in
ICUs during the study.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists has more about
obesity and anesthesia.
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