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Crit Care Med. 2004 Apr;32(4 Suppl):S87-91.

Assessment and management of the obese patient.

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Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.



The perioperative care of the clinically severe obese patient presents numerous unique challenges. As an increasing number of people in North America fall into the category of the clinically severe obese, the care of these patients will become increasingly more challenging and prevalent. These patients have unique issues with regards to cardiovascular, pulmonary, and thromboembolic complications. In addition, hospital equipment must be able to accommodate the body habitus of this population.


A Medline search using "perioperative care," "morbid obesity," "thromboembolic complications," "preoperative screening," and "postoperative care" as key words was performed for English-language articles. Further references were obtained through cross-referencing the bibliography cited in each work.


The management of the clinically severe obese patient requires meticulous preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative care. Careful preoperative planning is essential before taking the patient to the operating room. To have excellent outcomes, a multidisciplinary approach, including the primary care physician, anesthesiologist, surgeon, nursing staff, and social work, is necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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