Archive for Friday, May 2, 2008

Sleep apnea risks can be identified

May 2, 2008

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Sleep apnea can put surgical patients at high risk for respiratory complications during and after surgery. But of the 2 percent to 26 percent of Americans who have the condition, some 80 percent of men and 93 percent of women don't know it. Now anesthesiology researchers have developed a scoring system, published in the May journal Anesthesiology, to identify obstructive sleep apnea sufferers quickly before surgery. The disorder, characterized by loud snoring, puts people at risk of heart attack, irregular heart rhythm, diabetes and even traffic accidents. The researchers found that four simple questions can identify likely apnea sufferers: Do you snore loudly? Do you often feel tired, fatigued or sleepy during daytime? Has anyone observed you stop breathing during sleep? Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure? A "yes" to two questions ranks the patient as high risk for sleep apnea, says anesthesiologist Frances Chung, study lead author: "This patient may need to be monitored for oxygen saturation after surgery and may need more nursing care" - or, for minor surgery, newer and shorter-acting anesthetic.

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