A study presented at Anesthesiology 2011 found that obese asthmatic children were nearly two times as likely to have at least one respiratory complication during or after surgery compared to their lean peers.
“Respiratory problems are one of the major causes of complications and death during pediatric anesthesia,” said the study’s lead investigator, Olubukola O. Nafiu, MD. “Obesity and asthma are commonly cited as risk factors for respiratory problems. This study was designed to examine whether complications were more frequent in obese children with asthma.”
The study prospectively examined 1,102 children, 107 (9.7%) obese asthmatics, 118 (10.7%) normal weight asthmatics, 309 (28.0%) obese patients and 568 (51.5%) normal weight non-asthmatics. There was no significant difference in age between or within the groups. Children in the obese-asthmatic and obese groups were more likely to have at least one respiratory complication during or after surgery compared to the other groups. Additionally, obese-asthmatic children were more likely to have a longer post anesthesia unit stay.
“The association of obesity and asthma with an increase in respiratory complications suggests that obese asthmatic children undergoing anesthesia should receive additional evaluation and care to prevent the increased potential for complications,” said Dr. Nafiu. “Future investigations into what is directly causing complications in these patients are needed.”
Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists