Obstructive sleep apnea: preoperative assessment

Anesthesiol Clin. 2010 Jun;28(2):199-215. doi: 10.1016/j.anclin.2010.02.002.


Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent breathing disturbance in sleep. It is linked to a host of preexisting medical conditions, and associated with poorer postoperative outcomes. Screening and vigilance during the preoperative assessment identifies patients at high risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Further diagnostic tests may be performed, and plans can be made for tailored intraoperative care. The STOP and the STOP-Bang questionnaires are useful screening tools. Patients with a known diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea should be seen in the preoperative clinic, where risk stratification and optimization may be done before surgery. This review article presents functional algorithms for the perioperative management of obstructive sleep apnea based on limited clinical evidence, and a collation of expert knowledge and practices. These recommendations may be used to assist the anesthesiologist in decision-making when managing the patient with obstructive sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Anesthesia / methods*
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*