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How Does OSA Affect Surgery?

March 7, 2023


How Does OSA Affect Surgery

What is Sleep Apnea?

First, here’s a recap: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is “when your throat muscles repeatedly relax and block airways during sleep. When the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax, your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off.” Treatments for OSA include lifestyle changes and CPAP machines. 

How OSA Complicates Surgery

OSA can complicate surgeries by increasing the risk of adverse events, such as respiratory distress and cardiovascular complications. For OSA patients, anesthesia is one of the most significant risks to be aware of. These patients are at an increased risk of airway obstruction and difficulty breathing during anesthesia, intubation, and extubation, leading to postoperative complications such as hypoxemia and respiratory failure. Furthermore, OSA patients are more likely to experience adverse events such as pulmonary embolism following surgery, leading to prolonged hospitalization and increased healthcare costs. 

What to Know About Anesthesia and OSA

Anesthesia considerations are vital when dealing with OSA patients. The risks of airway obstruction and respiratory complications are increased due to OSA patients’ already compromised airway function. These patients can also exhibit an exaggerated response to sedatives and opioids, leading to delayed emergence from anesthesia and a higher risk of postoperative respiratory depression. Alternative airway management techniques such as laryngeal mask airway or video-assisted intubation may be used to reduce the risk of airway obstruction. Moreover, close postoperative monitoring is required to identify and manage potential respiratory complications. 

How to Manage OSA When Getting Surgeries

To manage OSA in surgery, you may need a team or medical professionals to devise a modified treatment plan. Sleep specialists, anesthesiologists, and surgeons must work together to identify the patient’s risks and the best treatments. This care plan may include preoperative screening for OSA and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy before and after surgery. It is also essential to use alternative airway management techniques and medications that reduce the risk of respiratory depression. 

It’s vital that your care team is made aware of your medical history and the symptoms you experience related to OSA. This will ensure you get coordinated medical care that results in the best outcomes for surgical recovery. 

Are you concerned that you – or a loved one – might have OSA? Get a sleep study now and find out before you go through any kind of surgical procedure. Get in touch now! www.advancedhomecareonline.com/sleep-studies/

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