Incidence of early postanesthetic hypoxemia in the postanesthetic care unit and related factors
Postoperative hypoxemia is a frequent adverse event in the postanesthetic care unit (PACU). Incidence varies substantially, between 14% and 80%, depending on the complexity of the referral center and the characteristics of the population, with the potential for severe and even fatal outcomes.
To determine the incidence of early postoperative hypoxemia (EPH) in the PACU and identify related clinical factors.
Materials and methods:
Cross-sectional analytical observational study in adult patients taken to the PACU following surgical procedures under general or neuroaxial anesthesia, between April and May 2017. Peripheral arterial oxygen saturation was recorded on admission to the PACU. Factors associated with the development of EPH were evaluated using simple logistic and multivariate regression step by step.
Overall, 365 patients were included. Median age was 49 years (interquartile range 36-63 years), half of them were women (55.3%), and 7.4% had lung disease. Of the total number of patients, 60 developed EPH, for an incidence of 16%. Age, a history of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), and anesthesia time were statistically significant associated factors. The type of anesthesia, the type of surgery, and the surgical site were not significant associated factors.
It is recommended to identify elderly patients, a history of OSAS, and potential exposure to prolonged anesthesia time in order to implement strategies designed to reduce the risk of EPH.
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