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Br J Anaesth. 2011 Jan;106(1):131-9. doi: 10.1093/bja/aeq290. Epub 2010 Oct 18.

Obstructive sleep apnoea and perioperative complications in bariatric patients.

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Department of Anaesthesiology, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.



The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between perioperative complications and the severity of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in patients undergoing bariatric surgery who had undergone preoperative polysomnography (PSG).


The records of 797 patients, age >18 yr, who underwent bariatric operations (442 open and 355 laparoscopic procedures) at Mayo Clinic and were assessed before operation by PSG, were reviewed retrospectively. OSA was quantified using the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) as none (≤ 4), mild (5-15), moderate (16-30), and severe (≥ 31). Pulmonary, surgical, and 'other' complications within the first 30 postoperative days were analysed according to OSA severity. Logistic regression was used to assess the multivariable association of OSA, age, sex, BMI, and surgical approach with postoperative complications.


Most patients with OSA (93%) received perioperative positive airway pressure therapy, and all patients were closely monitored after operation with pulse oximetry on either regular nursing floors or in intensive or intermediate care units. At least one postoperative complication occurred in 259 patients (33%). In a multivariable model, the overall complication rate was increased with open procedures compared with laparoscopic. In addition, increased BMI and age were associated with increased likelihood of pulmonary and other complications. Complication rates were not associated with OSA severity.


In obese patients evaluated before operation by PSG before bariatric surgery and managed accordingly, the severity of OSA, as assessed by the AHI, was not associated with the rate of perioperative complications. These results cannot determine whether unrecognized and untreated OSA increases risk.

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