Respiratory Concerns in the Obese Patient

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


INTRODUCTION There is substantial evidence to suggest that obesity is associated with an increased incidence of perioperative complications (1-6) such as wound infections and breakdown (3), venous thromboembolism (4), adverse cardiac events (5), and respiratory complications (7, 6). The mechanisms by which obesity may increase the incidence of perioperative respiratory complications have not yet been completely elucidated. Obese patients breathe rapidly and shallowly, and 80% of morbidly obese middleaged subjects report shortness of breath while climbing two flights of stairs (8). Obese patients also have a higher incidence of difficult mask ventilation, airway obstruction, major oxygen desaturation, and overall critical respiratory adverse events (2, 9). This chapter aims to provide some insight into the mechanisms by which obesity may affect the upper airway and pulmonary function. Obesity can alter respiratory physiology by two main mechanisms: effects of excessive tissue on upper airway and pulmonary function, and effects of obesity on neurologic control of upper airway dilator and respiratory muscles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerioperative Anesthetic Care of the Obese Patient
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781420095319
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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