Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a common breathing disorder of sleep with a prevalence increasing in parallel with the worldwide rise in obesity. Alterations in sleep duration and architecture, hypersomnolence, abnormal gas exchange and also associated comorbidities may all feature in affected patients.
The peri-operative period poses a special challenge for surgical patients with OSA who are often undiagnosed, and are at an increased risk for complications including pulmonary and cardiovascular, during that time. In order to ensure the best peri-operative management, anaesthetists caring for these patients should have a thorough understanding of the disorder, and be aware of the individual's peri-operative risk constellation, which depends on the severity and phenotype of OSA, the invasiveness of the surgical procedure, anaesthesia and also the requirement for postoperative opioids.
The objective of this review is to educate clinicians in the epidemiology, pathogenesis and diagnosis of OSA in adults and also to highlight specific tasks in the preoperative assessment, namely to select a suitable intra-operative anaesthesia regimen, and manage the extent and duration of postoperative care to facilitate the best peri-operative outcome.