Sleep Services of Texas
General anesthesia suppresses upper airway muscle activity, and it may impair breathing by allowing the airway to close. This means sleep apnea can be a complicating factor in the administration of general anesthesia. This risk translates to many surgical procedures, including bariatric surgery, spine surgery and orthopedic surgeries for the hip, shoulder and knee.
However, when the anesthesiologist is aware of sleep apnea in a patient and takes appropriate measures to maintain the airway, the risks of administering anesthesia can be minimized.
If a patient is known to have sleep apnea, precautions can be taken beforehand to ensure safety during the operation and afterwards, including proper orders for medications, monitoring and possibly a CPAP or APAP device while in the hospital.