Morbid Obesity and Tracheal Intubation


    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

The tracheas of obese patients may be more difficult to intubate than those of normal-weight patients. We studied 100 morbidly obese patients (body mass index >40 kg/m2) to identify which factors complicate direct laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation. Preoperative measurements (height, weight, neck circumference, width of mouth opening, sternomental distance, and thyromental distance) and Mallampati score were recorded. The view during direct laryngoscopy was graded, and the number of attempts at tracheal intubation was recorded. Neither absolute obesity nor body mass index was associated with intubation difficulties. Large neck circumference and high Mallampati score were the only predictors of potential intubation problems. Because in all but one patient the trachea was intubated successfully by direct laryngoscopy, the neck circumference that requires an intervention such as fiberoptic bronchoscopy to establish an airway remains unknown. We conclude that obesity alone is not predictive of tracheal intubation difficulties.

    loading  Loading Related Articles