The ABCDs of Managing Morbidly Obese Patients in Intensive Care Units

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Abstract

More than one-third of the US adult population and 17% of the youth are now obese, and obesity is associated with more than $147 billion a year in health care costs. Critical care nurses should understand the physiological differences and practice guidelines for patients with a body mass index greater than 30. The ABCD approach encompasses key clinical concepts in the management of critically ill obese and morbidly obese patients, including management of airways and breathing, minimizing nurses' back and other injuries, increasing awareness of bias, circulation problems, risks of decubitus ulcers and other skin breakdown, differences in drug calculations and metabolism, limitations in diagnostic equipment and imaging, diet and nutritional recommendations, and concerns with durable medical equipment. (Critical Care Nurse. 2016;36[5]:17-26)

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