Preventing Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression in the Hospitalized Patient With Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Purpose:To enhance the role of nursing interventions in the management of perioperative opioid-induced respiratory depression (OIRD) in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).Design:Narrative review of the literature.Methods:Literature reviewed with emphasis on recommendations by professional and accrediting organizations.Findings:Postsurgical OIRD increases hospital stay (55%), cost of care (47%), 30-day readmission (36%), and inpatient mortality (3.4 fold). OSA increases the risk of OIRD and may result in legal claims averaging $2.5 million per legal claim.Conclusions:Nursing interventions are essential to improving outcome and reduce cost in the management of postsurgical OIRD in OSA patients.

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