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Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2011 Mar;25(1):95-108.

Intensive care in the obese.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Therapy, Elisabeth-Krankenhaus Essen, Klara-Kopp-Weg 1, 45138 Essen, Germany.


Nearly 20% of all patients admitted to an intensive-care unit are obese. Their excess weight puts them at risk for several problems and complications during their intensive-care unit stay. Especially, pulmonary problems need particular attention, and comprehensive knowledge of the specific pathophysiologic changes of the respiratory system is important. Lung protective ventilation strategies, supplemented by lung-recruiting manoeuvres, may be feasible in critically ill obese patients with lung injury. Careful positioning of the obese is essential to optimise ventilation and facilitate weaning from mechanical ventilation. Optimal hypocaloric nutrition with a high proportion of proteins is advised to control hyperglycaemia. Because mortality in obese patients is similar to or lower than in non-obese ones, it is conceivable that obesity has a protective effect in the critically ill.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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