Obese Children At High Respiratory Risk During Surgery – A Study Report

Obese ChildA new study conducted by the researchers at the University of Michigan Health System suggests that obese children are more prone to breathing related problems during surgery, as compared to their normal-weight counterparts.

The study results are published in the journal ‘Anesthesiology.’

During the study, the researchers analyzed the experiences of 2,025 children—1,380 with normal weight, 351 overweight, and 294 obese—who were having elective surgery.

The study reveals that obese children are not only had major airway obstruction, oxygen desaturation (a decrease in oxygen in the patient’s blood) during surgery, but also had several other conditions compared with normal weight children including higher rate of illnesses and conditions such as asthma, sleep apnea and Type II diabetes.

In comparison with 16 percent of normal-weight children, the researchers reported that 28 percent of obese children had asthma.

Dr. Alan R. Tait, professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the U-M System said, “To our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind.” 
The new findings are especially relevant because of the increasing prevalence of obesity in the U.S. and in many other countries.

Dr. Tait emphasized that anesthesiologists should be aware of and understand the pre-existing conditions and adverse respiratory events that may affect obese children so that they can "anticipate, recognize, and treat these events should they occur."