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Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2014 Jul;18(13):1869-74.

Does the STOP-Bang, an obstructive sleep apnea screening tool, predict difficult intubation?

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Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Ankara Training and Research Hospital of Ministry of Health, Ankara, Turkey.



A close relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and difficult intubation has been suggested. We hypothesized that the STOP-Bang questionnaire, a screening tool for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), can predict difficult intubation.


In this prospective cohort study, 200 adult surgical patients undergoing surgery under general anesthesia were studied to evaluate the usefulness of the STOP-Bang questionnaire for predicting difficult intubation. STOP-Bang questionnaire results, Mallampati score and tonsil size, as well as demographic data, were recorded preoperatively. Cormack & Lehane grading and difficulty of intubation (Cormack & Lehane grade III or IV, need of an intubation aid, or need of three or more intubation attempts) were also evaluated.


Eighty-three out of 200 patients had a high risk of OSA based on the STOP-Bang questionnaire. The occurrence of difficult intubation was higher in the patients at a high risk of OSA (i.e., a STOP-Bang score of ≥ 3) than in the patients at a low risk (13.3% vs. 2.6%) (p = 0.004). Higher age, greater weight, higher body mass index, greater neck circumference, male gender, presence of comorbidities, lower preoperative SpO2, longer extubation times, higher Mallampati score, higher Cormack & Lehane grading, tonsil size and difficult intubation were significantly correlated with a high risk of OSA (p < 0.001). Fourteen out of 200 patients had difficulty in intubation. A STOP-Bang score of ≥ 3 was seen more frequently in the difficult intubation patients (78.6% vs. 38.7%) (p = 0.009). Greater weight, greater neck circumference, greater Mallampati score, a STOP-Bang score ≥ 3 and male gender were significantly correlated with difficult intubation (p < 0.05).


A STOP-Bang score of ≥ 3 was a predictor for difficult intubation.

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