BACKGROUND: Intubation procedure in obese patients is a challenging issue both in the intensive care unit (ICU) and in the operating theatre (OT). The objectives of the study were (i) to compare the incidence of difficult intubation and (ii) its related complications in obese patients admitted to ICU and OT. METHODS: We conducted a multicentre prospective observational cohort study in ICU and OT in obese (BMI≥30 kg m(-2)) patients. The primary endpoint was the incidence of difficult intubation. Secondary endpoints were the risk factors for difficult intubation, the use of difficult airway management techniques, and severe life-threatening complications related to intubation (death, cardiac arrest, severe hypoxaemia, severe cardiovascular collapse). RESULTS: In cohorts of 1400 and 11 035 consecutive patients intubated in ICU and in the OT, 282 (20%) and 2103 (19%) were obese. In obese patients, the incidence of difficult intubation was twice more frequent in ICU than in the OT (16.3% vs 8.2%, P<0.01). In both cohorts, risk factors for difficult intubation were Mallampati score III/IV, obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, and reduced mobility of cervical spine, while limited mouth opening, severe hypoxaemia, and coma appeared only in ICU. Specific difficult airway management techniques were used in 66 (36%) cases of difficult intubation in obese patients in the OT and in 10 (22%) cases in ICU (P=0.04). Severe life-threatening complications were significantly more frequent in ICU than in the OT (41.1% vs 1.9%, relative risk 21.6, 95% confidence interval 15.4-30.3, P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: In obese patients, the incidence of difficult intubation was twice more frequent in ICU than in the OT and severe life-threatening complications related to intubation occurred 20-fold more often in ICU.
BMJ Case Rep. 2013 Sep 19;2013. pii: bcr2013201009. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2013-201009.
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB) is considered a relatively safe and effective treatment for obesity. Even after weight loss patients with LAGB are at increased risk of pulmonary aspiration during induction of general anaesthesia, possibly due to LAGB-induced anatomical and functional changes. We present a case of aspiration in a patient with LAGB following significant weight loss and 14 h of preoperative fasting and review the literature. In the presence of LAGB we propose specific anaesthesia management at least consisting of anti-Trendelenburg positioning; avoidance of mask-ventilation; use of the local rapid sequence induction strategy with endotracheal intubation and fully awake extubation.
Oxygenation maintenance is the cornerstone of airway management in the obese patient related to anatomic and pathophysiologic issues. Difficult mask ventilation (DMV) risk is increased in obese patients according recognized predictors (Body Mass Index [BMI]>26 kg/m2, age >55 years, jaw protrusion severely limited, lack of teeth, snoring, beard, Mallampati class III or IV) and should systematically search. Difficult tracheal intubation(DTI) risk may be increased and risk should be assessed in a careful manner. Increased neck circumference and high BMI (>35 kg/m2) should be added to "standard" preoperative airway assessment including:Mallampati class, mouth opening and thyromental distance. In obese patients, preoxygenation is mandatory by 25° head-up position achieving better gas exchange than in supine position. In addition, to prevent early arterial oxygen desaturation related to a reduced functional residual capacity (FRC), atelectasis formation during anesthetic induction and after trachealintubation, non invasive positive pressure ventilation and application of PEEP throughout this period are recommended. Airway management inobese patients has to consider: the anesthesia technique with maintenance or not of spontaneous ventilation, the available oxygenation technique in case of anticipated DMV, and the appropriate tracheal intubation technique (fiberoptic intubation technique or videolaryngoscope) according to the patient status and will. In unexpected difficult airway, the very first priority is oxygenation and a predefined strategy has to be implemented with oxygenation devices first (supraglottic devices or ILMA). Lastly, the final step of the obese airway management is tracheal extubation and recovery. A strategy with a fully awake patient, without residual paralysis, and a 25° head-up position is mandatory.