Obesity Creates Anesthesia Challenges
Patients that are obese should be aware of possible challenges when it comes to administering anesthesia during surgical procedures, according to a report in HealthDay.
Although reports have showed the rates of obesity in the United States to be leveling off, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 34 percent of adults are obese. As a result, the American Society of Anesthesiologists have launched a public campaign to better inform patients of risks associated with obesity and anesthesia, according to the report.
Obese patients are more likely to suffer from more health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea, and be more susceptible to pain medications, which can affect breathing while under anesthesia, according to the report. Additionally, locating veins for IVs, inserting breathing tubes and efficiently monitoring vitals, such as blood pressure, can present increased challenges in obese patients.
Because of these concerns, anesthesiologists suggest several risk-reducing steps, such as meeting with a primary care physician and anesthesiologist prior to surgery. In this meeting, additional testing can be done, such as diabetes screening, and if time allows, patients can be advised to lose some weight prior to surgery. According to the report, if patients with sleep apnea use a CPAP machine, they can also be advised to bring it with them if the surgery is being performed in an outpatient setting.
Patients can also ask at the pre-surgery meeting if the facility they are going to has appropriate equipment to handle obese patients — in particular, blood pressure cuffs and operating tables/gurneys.
Read HealthDay's report on obesity and anesthesia.
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