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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094


REIS, Leonardo de Andrade; REIS, Guilherme Frederico Ferreira dos  and  OLIVEIRA, Milton Roberto Marchi de. The airways and gastric contents in obese patients. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2010, vol.60, n.1, pp.98-103. ISSN 0034-7094.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to review the literature and to question the concept that obese patients should be considered as having a potential full stomach and, therefore, question how the airways, considered as of difficult access due to obesity, should be approached during anesthetic induction. CONTENTS: Classically, obese patients are viewed as having a potential full stomach, leading to conducts to protect the airways during anesthetic induction. Frequently, awake intubation or rapid sequence intubation is performed. However, this concept is based on a single study, which has been cited by other authors. Obese patients are also considered difficult to intubate, raising the concern on the successful approach of the airways. However, studies in the literature question this concept, leading to questioning of the techniques used to access the airways. CONCLUSIONS: Studies in the literature demonstrate that gastric emptying is not slowed in obese patients as previously believed, and gastric contents are not greater in this patient population; intubation can, therefore, be safely done after anesthesia. Although obesity alone does not lead to failure to intubate, other signs can be used to predict difficult intubations.

Keywords : COMPLICATIONS [tracheal intubation]; DISEASES [morbid obesity]; PHYSIOLOGY; Gastrointestinal [gastric emptying]; TRACHEAL INTUBATION; VENTILATION [artificial]; VENTILATION [intermittent positive pressure].

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