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Identifying patients who need close monitoring during and after upper airway surgery for obstructive sleep apnoea

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2006

K P Pang
Affiliation:
Otolaryngology, Sleep Disorders Unit, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
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Abstract

Potentially serious complications have been documented in patients undergoing upper airway surgery for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Consensus is lacking regarding peri- and post-operative monitoring and identification of those patients likely to suffer post-operative complications.

This retrospective review of 118 patients treated and 152 surgical procedures undertaken, from January 1998 to December 2003, addresses this issue. The overall peri- and post-operative complication rate was 13.8 per cent, with one patient experiencing upper airway compromise, five patients experiencing post-operative oxygen desaturation within 150 minutes of extubation, six patients experiencing persistent hypertension and four patients suffering secondary haemorrhage. All patients were treated accordingly and recovered well, with no mortality. From these results, it is concluded that patients with severe OSA (apnoea–hypopnoea index > 60 and lowest oxygen saturation <80 per cent) are at higher risk of post-operative oxygen desaturation. Post-operative hypertension is more likely in patients with a prior history of hypertension. Routine post-operative admission to an intensive care unit for all OSA patients is unnecessary (including patients with severe OSA). However, all patients with OSA should be closely monitored in the post-anaesthesia care area for at least three hours after surgery; based on the outcome of this period and the clinical judgment of the clinician, the patient can then be observed overnight in either the high dependency unit or on a general ward. Patients with mild OSA may be admitted to the 23-hour ambulatory unit post-operatively. Use of continuous positive airway pressure in the immediate post-operative period can reduce the incidence of post-operative respiratory compromise and complications and is strongly recommended.

Type
Main Articles
Copyright
2006 JLO (1984) Limited

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