Perioperative pulmonary outcomes in patients with sleep apnea after noncardiac surgery

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Anesthesiology

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Document Type



Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Child; Child, Preschool; Female; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Intraoperative Complications; Male; Middle Aged; Perioperative Care; Risk Factors; Sleep Apnea Syndromes; Treatment Outcome; Young Adult


Anesthesiology | Surgery


BACKGROUND: Although patients with sleep apnea (SA) are considered to be at increased risk for postoperative complications, evidence supporting increased risk of perioperative pulmonary morbidity is limited. The objective of this study, therefore, was to analyze perioperative demographics and pulmonary outcomes of patients with SA after orthopedic and general surgical procedures using a population-based sample. We hypothesized that SA is an independent risk factor for perioperative pulmonary complications, thus providing a basis for an increase in the utilization of resources, including intensive monitoring and development of strategies to prevent and treat these events.

METHODS: National Inpatient Sample data for each year between 1998 and 2007 were accessed. Orthopedic and general surgical procedures were included and discharges with a diagnosis code for SA were identified. Patients with the diagnosis of SA were matched to those without the disease based on demographic variables using the propensity scoring method. Aspiration pneumonia, adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pulmonary embolism (PE), and the need for intubation and mechanical ventilation were the primary outcomes. Odds ratio (OR) and absolute risk reduction along with 95% confidence interval were reported.

RESULTS: We identified 2,610,441 entries for orthopedic and 3,441,262 for general surgical procedures performed between 1998 and 2007. Of those, 2.52% and 1.40%, respectively, carried a diagnosis of SA. Patients with SA developed pulmonary complications more frequently than their matched controls after both orthopedic and general surgical procedures, respectively (i.e., aspiration pneumonia: 1.18% vs 0.84% and 2.79% vs 2.05%; ARDS: 1.06% vs 0.45% and 3.79% vs 2.44%; intubation/mechanical ventilation: 3.99% vs 0.79% and 10.8% vs 5.94%, all P values

CONCLUSION: SA is an independent risk factor for perioperative pulmonary complications. Our results may be used for hypothesis generation for clinical studies targeted to improve perioperative outcomes in this patient population.

DOI of Published Version



Anesth Analg. 2011 Jan;112(1):113-21. Epub 2010 Nov 16. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Anesthesia and analgesia

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