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Surgery. 1986 Jun;99(6):763-8.

Spirometry as a preoperative screening test in morbidly obese patients.


We performed spirometry on 114 morbidly obese patients considered for gastric bypass surgery to assess its efficacy as a preoperative screening test. One hundred eight subjects underwent surgery, and 61 patients returned for repeat spirometry 1 year later. The average preoperative forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and mid flow (FEF25-75%) were 100% of predicted. Spirometry identified no more of our obese subjects as abnormal than would have been identified in a group of healthy, nonobese individuals. Each surgical case was reviewed. An abnormal preoperative spirogram did not identify the patients who experienced postoperative complications. Weight loss was associated with very small increases in FVC (300 ml) and FEV1 (245 ml). Preoperative spirometric testing is not indicated in morbidly obese patients with no other identifiable risk factors for postoperative respiratory complications.

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