Nocturnal Arterial Oxygen Desaturation and Episodic Airway Obstruction After Ambulatory Surgery

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Some patients experience disordered breathing during sleep and arterial oxygen desaturation after major inpatient surgery. We performed this study to determine whether similar events occur after ambulatory surgery. Forty-five ambulatory surgery patients received an unrestricted anesthetic. Continuous unattended nocturnal recordings of breathing pattern and oxygen saturation were made in the patients’ homes before surgery and during the first and second postoperative nights. Nine patients had a respiratory disturbance index >10 and/or >1% of recording time with oxygen saturation <90% on at least one study night. These nine patients had a significantly older median age and a significantly larger median body mass index. Their median respiratory disturbance index and median percentage of time with oxygen saturation <90% were significantly higher on the first postoperative night than on the preoperative night.

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