Sleep Apnea Increases Risk of Post-Surgery Complications

'STOP-BANG' pre-op sleep apnea questionnaire IDs patients at risk for sleep apnea
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A questionnaire to assess the risk for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) can help identify surgery patients who are at higher risk for postoperative cardiac and pulmonary complications, according to a study in the October issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Tajender S. Vasu, M.D., of the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, and colleagues administered the STOP-BANG questionnaire to 135 adult patients undergoing elective surgery over a three-day period in May 2008. The study compared the incidence of surgical complications for patients with high and low OSAS risk as measured by the questionnaire, which is named using an acronym for the markers of OSAS: Snoring, daytime Tiredness, Observed apnea, high blood Pressure, Body mass index, Age, Neck circumference, and Gender.

Among the 41.5 percent of the patients who had high risk scores for OSAS as measured by STOP-BANG, the researchers found a 19.6 percent rate of postoperative complications, compared to 1.3 percent for the patients with low OSAS risk scores. Also, patient age, American Society of Anesthesiologists class of three or higher, and obesity were associated with a higher risk of postoperative complications.

"In conclusion, this study demonstrated that a high risk score for OSAS on the STOP-BANG questionnaire is associated with an increased incidence of postoperative complications. Most patients with OSAS have undiagnosed conditions and are almost certainly at risk in the perioperative setting," the authors write.

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