Chapter

Obesity and the airway

Mark Bellamy and Michel Struys

in Anaesthesia for the Overweight and Obese Patient

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199233953
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199607051 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199233953.003.0009

Series: Oxford Anaesthesia Library

Obesity and the airway

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• Airway management in the obese patient is challenging. • The presence of obstructive sleep apnoea and other obstructive symptoms is highly suggestive of airway difficulty. • Standard history and examination may fail to predict airway difficulty in the obese. • Airway obstruction during spontaneous breathing may result from fatty infiltration of the wall of the pharynx, with increased pharyngeal wall compliance. • Asleep intubation should only be attempted by an experienced anaesthetist with adequate assistance. It is desirable for two anaesthetists to be present. • Awake intubation may provide a safer alternative to intubation under general anaesthesia. • Similar considerations and care apply to extubation as to intubation. • Airway problems continue into the post-operative period.

Chapter.  3004 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anaesthetics

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