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J Anesth. 2019 Feb;33(1):96-102. doi: 10.1007/s00540-018-2592-7. Epub 2019 Jan 8.

The influence of morbid obesity on difficult intubation and difficult mask ventilation.

Author information

1
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75390-9068, USA. Tiffany.Moon@UTSouthwestern.edu.
2
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75390-9068, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To determine the influence of morbid obesity on the incidence of difficult mask ventilation and difficult intubation.

METHODS:

Over a 6-year period, all tracheal intubations in the operating room of a large tertiary teaching hospital were analyzed. A modified version of the intubation difficulty scale (mIDS) was used to define easy versus difficult intubation, where a score of two or greater was defined as difficult intubation. Difficult mask ventilation was defined as the use of one or more adjuncts to achieve successful mask ventilation.

RESULTS:

Of 45,447 analyzed cases, 1893 (4.2%) were classified as difficult intubations. Morbidly obese patients were not more likely to have difficult intubation [Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.131, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.958, 1.334, p = 0.146]. Factors that were associated with difficult intubation included patient age > 46 years, male sex, Mallampati 3-4, thyromental distance < 6 cm, and the presence of intact dentition. Of 37,016 cases in which mask ventilation was attempted, 1069 (2.9%) were difficult. Morbidly obese patients were more likely to have difficult mask ventilation (OR = 3.785, 95% CI: 3.188, 4.493, p < 0.0001). Other factors associated with difficult mask ventilation included patient age > 46 years, male sex, Mallampati 3-4, and a history of obstructive sleep apnea. Having intact dentition decreased the likelihood of difficult mask ventilation.

CONCLUSION:

Morbidly obese patients do not have a higher incidence of difficult intubation compared to non-morbidly obese patients. However, they have a significantly higher incidence of difficult mask ventilation. Other factors that are predictive of both difficult mask ventilation and difficult intubation include age > 46 years, male sex, and Mallampati 3-4.

KEYWORDS:

Difficult airway; Difficult intubation; Difficult mask ventilation; Morbid obesity

PMID:
30617589
DOI:
10.1007/s00540-018-2592-7

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