The influence of morbid obesity on difficult intubation and difficult mask ventilation

Tiffany S Moon, Pamela E Fox, Alwin Somasundaram, Abu Taher M Minhajuddin, Michael X. Gonzales, Taylor J. Pak, Babatunde O Ogunnaike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To determine the influence of morbid obesity on the incidence of difficult mask ventilation and difficult intubation. Methods: Over a 6-year period, all tracheal intubations in the operating room of a large tertiary teaching hospital were analyzed. A modified version of the intubation difficulty scale (mIDS) was used to define easy versus difficult intubation, where a score of two or greater was defined as difficult intubation. Difficult mask ventilation was defined as the use of one or more adjuncts to achieve successful mask ventilation. Results: Of 45,447 analyzed cases, 1893 (4.2%) were classified as difficult intubations. Morbidly obese patients were not more likely to have difficult intubation [Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.131, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.958, 1.334, p = 0.146]. Factors that were associated with difficult intubation included patient age > 46 years, male sex, Mallampati 3–4, thyromental distance < 6 cm, and the presence of intact dentition. Of 37,016 cases in which mask ventilation was attempted, 1069 (2.9%) were difficult. Morbidly obese patients were more likely to have difficult mask ventilation (OR = 3.785, 95% CI: 3.188, 4.493, p < 0.0001). Other factors associated with difficult mask ventilation included patient age > 46 years, male sex, Mallampati 3–4, and a history of obstructive sleep apnea. Having intact dentition decreased the likelihood of difficult mask ventilation. Conclusion: Morbidly obese patients do not have a higher incidence of difficult intubation compared to non-morbidly obese patients. However, they have a significantly higher incidence of difficult mask ventilation. Other factors that are predictive of both difficult mask ventilation and difficult intubation include age > 46 years, male sex, and Mallampati 3–4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Anesthesia
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Difficult airway
  • Difficult intubation
  • Difficult mask ventilation
  • Morbid obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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