Perioperative hypoxemia is common with horizontal positioning during general anesthesia and is associated with major adverse outcomes: a retrospective study of consecutive patients.

BMC anesthesiology

PubMedID: 24940115

Dunham CM, Hileman BM, Hutchinson AE, Chance EA, Huang GS. Perioperative hypoxemia is common with horizontal positioning during general anesthesia and is associated with major adverse outcomes: a retrospective study of consecutive patients. BMC Anesthesiol. 2014;1443.
BACKGROUND
Reported perioperative pulmonary aspiration (POPA) rates have substantial variation. Perioperative hypoxemia (POH), a manifestation of POPA, has been infrequently studied beyond the PACU, for patients undergoing a diverse array of surgical procedures.

METHODS
Consecutive adult patients with ASA I-IV and pre-operative pulmonary stability who underwent a surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia were investigated. Using pulse oximetry, POH was documented in the operating room and during the 48 hours following PACU discharge. POPA was the presence of an acute pulmonary infiltrate with POH.

RESULTS
The 500 consecutive, eligible patients had operative body-positions of prone 13%, decubitus 8%, sitting 1%, and supine/lithotomy 78%, with standard practice of horizontal recumbency. POH was found in 150 (30%) patients. Post-operative stay with POH was 3.7?±?4.7 days and without POH was 1.7?±?2.3 days (p?
CONCLUSIONS
Adult surgical patients undergoing general anesthesia with horizontal recumbency have substantial POH and POPA rates. Hospital mortality was greater with POPA and post-operative stay was increased for POH and POPA. POH rates were noteworthy for virtually all categories of operative procedures and POH and POPA were independent predictors of post-operative length of stay. A study is needed to determine if modest reverse-Trendelenburg positioning during general anesthesia has a relationship with reduced POH and POPA rates.