Patients who undergo surgery to alleviate obstructive sleep apnea should be closely monitored, but do not necessarily need to be admitted to the intensive care unit, a retrospective study showed.
Despite the widespread belief that surgery in these patients can be life-threatening because of the possibility of airway compromise, only one out of 487 patients (0.2 percent) developed an upper airway obstruction, according to Kenny P. Pang, FRCSEd, of the Pacific Sleep Center in Singapore, and colleagues.
The overall complication rate was only 7.1 percent, the researchers reported online in theArchives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
"Extensive effort has been directed toward identifying patients with [obstructive sleep apnea] who are likely to have postoperative airway and respiratory complications, in the hope of directing resources and preventing complications," Pang and colleagues wrote.
To examine the incidence and types of complications, the researchers conducted a review of consecutive patients who had surgery for obstructive sleep apnea over a three-year period.