- S Shailaja, S M Nichelle, A Kishan Shetty, and B Radhesh Hegde.
- Department of Anaesthesiology, Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India.
- Anesth Essays Res. 2014 May 1;8(2):168-74.
BackgroundDifficult tracheal intubation contributes to significant morbidity and mortality during induction of anesthesia. There are divided opinions regarding ease of intubation in obese patients. Moreover, the definition of difficult intubation is not uniform; hence we have use the Intubation Difficulty Scale (IDS) to find the incidence of difficult intubation in obese patients.AimsThe primary aim of the following study is to find out the incidence of difficult intubation in obese and lean patients using IDS and secondary aim is to assess the performance of bedside screening tests to predict difficult intubation, mask ventilation and laryngoscopy in obese and lean patients.Materials And MethodsA prospective, observational cohort study of 200 patients requiring general anesthesia were categorized into 100 each based on body mass index (BMI) into lean (BMI <25 kg/m(2)) and obese (BMI ≥25 kg/m(2)) groups. IDS score ≥5 was termed as difficult intubation. Pre-operative airway assessment included Mallampati score, mouth opening, neck circumference (NC), upper lip bite test, thyromental distance, sternomental distance (SMD) and head neck mobility. Patients having difficulty in mask ventilation and laryngoscopy was recorded.ResultsOver all in 200 patients the incidence of difficult intubation was 9%. Obese patients were slightly more difficult to intubate than lean (11% vs. 7%, P = 0.049). Age >40 years, NC >35 cm, SMD <12.5 cm and restricted head neck mobility were factors which were associated with IDS ≥5. Multivariate analysis revealed SMD <12.5 cm to predict difficult intubation in obese patients. Obese patients were difficult to mask ventilate (6% vs. 1%, P = 0.043). There was no difference regarding grading of laryngoscopy between the two groups.ConclusionObese patients are difficult to mask ventilate and intubate. During intubation of obese patients who is more than 40 years age and SMD <12.5 cm, it is preferable to have a second skilled anesthesiologist.
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