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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988 Oct;99(4):362-9.

Obstructive sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure, and surgery.

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Stanford University Hospital, CA.


Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who have undergone upper airway surgery could be expected to improve if surgery alleviated some or all of the anatomic obstructions, or continue to desaturate at preoperative levels if the surgery was not corrective. Factors such as morbid obesity, general anesthesia recovery, and operative edema can potentially cause desaturations below preoperative levels. Because of this risk, patients with severe OSA have been considered for protective tracheostomy. The findings of our study suggest that selected patients who would have been past candidates for protective tracheostomy while undergoing surgery for severe OSA can, as an alternative, be considered for immediate postoperative use of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Ten surgical patients with severe OSA who elected surgical treatment were successfully treated with CPAP immediately after extubation and postoperatively to assist with airway patency and hemoglobin saturation. Postoperative followup included monitoring of continuous pulse oximetry, cardiac activity, and intermittent arterial blood gases. Preoperatively, all ten patients had marked decrease in oxygen desaturation levels during sleep, with a mean nadir oxygen saturation (SaO2) to 51.5%. After surgery, all patients in this group maintained SaO2 levels to no lower than 90%, with a mean SaO2 level of 93% while using CPAP on room air (F10(2) 21%) only.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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