Study: Increasing U.S. Obesity Rates Require High-BMI Protocols

As obesity rates climb in the United States, perioperative professionals must be prepared to care for patients with a high body mass index and to prevent the surgery-related complications seen in this patient population, according to a study published in AORN Journal.

Healthcare professionals at John Muir Medical Center in Concord, Calif., described the work of a High BMI Task Force to create and implement a system that would improve surgical results for obese patients.


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Chart audit results confirmed the quality improvement project, which included revised checklists noting the patient’s BMI, was successful. Ninety-two percent of 50 charts showed inclusion of the BMI on the surgery schedule, and 94 percent showed inclusion of the BMI on the preoperative checklist. No positioning incidents or intubation emergencies have occurred in patients with a high BMI since Jan. 1, 2009.

The authors concluded high-BMI protocols, including strategies centered on interdepartmental communication, respiratory care, equipment and staff education, can reduce the risk of surgical complications for obese patients.

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