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Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Anesthesia or Conscious Sedation
How Should My Physician or Anesthesiologist Prepare?
First, make sure the surgeon and anesthesiologist know about your sleep apnea!!
Your anesthesiologist will conduct a preoperative assessment, which includes your medical history and a physical exam. In addition, as anesthesia is usually delivered via a tube inserted into the airway or trachea, the anesthesiologist must assess potential difficulties of this procedure known as intubation. PLEASE bring your CPAP machine and mask with you and ask your physician to order use after surgery.
How Will My Surgery Differ From That Of Patients Without OSA?
The anesthesiologist must pay careful attention to your airway during and after surgery as you are at higher risk than the average patient without OSA. Because of this, the anesthesiologist will often delay removal of the breathing tube from your trachea until you are more alert after surgery.
What Happens After Surgery?
After the surgery, the period of awakening may be problematic. In patients who have undergone surgery involving general anesthesia, local swelling and inflammation of the throat may narrow airway. Also, the lingering sedatives and respiratory depressants may be a concern. PLEASE remember to bring your CPAP machine and mask with you and ask your physician to order the use of your CPAP after surgery. We also recommend the careful use of sedatives or pain medications after surgery to avoid aggravating your OSA.
Are There Alternatives to General Anesthesia?
There are potential alternatives to general anesthesia, particularly if the surgery is in the arms or legs. Regional anesthesia, such as an epidural, spinal, or peripheral nerve block is a possible alternative and may be safer than general anesthesia.
Conscious Sedation
This is the use of potent sedatives and pain medications intravenously to cause you to become very drowsy and relaxed. This type of anesthesia is used with procedures such as a colonoscopy. Because you become relaxed and sedated, your OSA may occur and the lack of breathing could lead to serious consequences. Please always inform your physician about your OSA and bring your CPAP to use during the procedure. We recommend that procedures requiring conscious sedation be performed in a hospital setting where they have respiratory therapy staff familiar with CPAP use and that you use your CPAP system during the procedure, if possible.