Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disease which increases the risk of perioperative complications. The aim of this study is to assess the clinical utility of preoperative screening for OSA in determining the prevalence of patients at high risk of OSA in a surgical population, the incidence of difficult airway management and the incidence of perioperative complications.
Methods: We conducted a multisite, prospective observational study on adult patients scheduled for elective surgery. All patients completed a STOP-Bang questionnaire as a part of their preoperative evaluation. Collected data included: demographic data, type of surgery, ASA class, postoperative course, complications within 48 hours, difficult intubation (DI) and difficult mask ventilation (DMV) rates.
Results: A total of 3452 consecutive patients were recruited; 2997 (87%) were identified as low OSA risk patients and 455 (13%) were identified as high OSA risk patients; 113 (3%) postoperative complications, 315 (9%) cases of DMV and 375 (11%) of DI were observed. The percentage of postoperative complications in patients with HR-OSA was 9%, while the percentage of DI was 20% and the percentage of DMV was 23%. High risk for OSA and higher BMI (≥30 Kg m-2) were independently associated with risk for perioperative complications.
Conclusion: In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the prevalence of high OSA risk patients in the surgical population is high. The increase in the rates of perioperative complications justifies the implementation of perioperative strategies that use the STOP-Bang as a tool for triage.