Sedation for Bronchoscopy and Complications in Obese Patients

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Bronchoscopy is a safe and minimally invasive diagnostic tool, but no studies have reported prospectively on sedation and outcomes in patients with objectively defined obesity.


The purpose of the study is to determine if obese patients require more sedation or had more procedural complications during bronchoscopy under moderate sedation than non-obese patients.


We evaluated complications and sedation requirements in non-obese versus obese patients, defined by multiple criteria including body mass index (BMI), neck circumference, abdominal height, and Mallampati scores.


Data were collected prospectively in 258 patients undergoing bronchoscopy under moderate sedation. By varying criteria, there were the following proportions of obese patients: 30% by BMI >30, 39% by neck circumference >40 cm, and 35% by abdominal height >22 cm in males and >20 cm in females. Sedative and analgesic dosing was not clinically significantly higher in obese patients than in non-obese patients. There was no difference in complications or procedural success based on obesity criteria. Hemoglobin oxygen desaturations occurred more often during bronchoscopy in patients with increasing Mallampati scores (p = 0.04), but this had no effect on bronchoscopy time or successful completion of the procedure. A subset of patients with previous polysomnogram-proven obstructive sleep apnea were more likely to have earlier termination of their procedure (15.8%) than patients with no diagnosed sleep apnea (2.3%; p = 0.002).


In this prospective assessment of patients with obesity, we found neither clinically significant differences in sedation needs nor increases in complications in obese versus non-obese patients using a variety of indices of obesity.

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