Background: In patients undergoing surgical interventions under general anesthesia, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) can cause serious perioperative cardiovascular or respiratory complications leading to fatal consequences, even sudden death. In this study we test the hypothesis that morbidly obese patients diagnosed by a polysomnography test and using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy have fewer and less severe perioperative complications and a shorter hospital stay than patients who have a medical history that meets at least three STOP-Bang criteria and are not using CPAP therapy.
Methods: Postoperative hospital stay and pulmonary complications were analyzed in three groups of morbidly obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy) between January 2009 and November 2013 (n = 693). Group A comprised 99 patients who were preoperatively diagnosed with OSA based on polysomnography results. These patients used CPAP therapy before and after surgery. Group B consisted of 182 patients who met at least three STOP-Bang criteria but who were not diagnosed with OSA based on polysomnography results. These patients did not use CPAP. Group C, the reference group, comprised 412 patients who scored one to two items on the STOP-Bang.
Results: During the perioperative period, Group B patients had a significantly (p < 0.001) higher cumulative rate of pulmonary complications, worse oxygen saturation, respiratory rates, and increased length of stay in hospital. There was also two cases of sudden death in this group.
Conclusion: Based on these results, we conclude that patients meeting at least three STOP-BANG criteria have higher postoperative complications and an increased length of hospital stay than patients using CPAP.