Airway MedicalHealth EquitySMACCSurgeryAnaesthetics in Bariatric Surgery: Ben Shippey

Anaesthetics in Bariatric Surgery: Ben Shippey

Ben Shippey discusses the important anaesthetic considerations in bariatric surgery. Obesity surgery can induce a strong response in healthcare professionals.

These biases must be overcome to facilitate efficient and safe services. Evidently, Bariatric surgery provides many challenges.

To begin with, healthcare professionals can associate negative thoughts with obesity.

Secondly, these patients present complex respiratory and cardiovascular physiology that must be considered.

Ben highlights three important considerations when preparing for, and delivery anaesthetics in the bariatric population. These are Attitude, Assessment and Act.

Attitude –

Encompasses the attitude of the physicians, theatre team and the patient themselves. One must recognise and change their thinking about the obese patient. Ben’s team does this by realising the complex psychological background these patients invariably have.

Assessment –

Furthermore, a multidisciplinary team must undertake a broad assessment.

Specifically for the anaesthetic team, there is a complex decision pathway, especially with managing the airway. The broad principle should be to shorten the time between the awake, vertical, spontaneously breathing obese person and the supine, anaesthetised, intubated and positively pressure ventilated patient.

Finally, Act –

As Ben states, the previous two points are null and void if it does not change practice. The key element to act is to plan! This involves having a clear action plan for the intubation of the patient and failing that, clear points at which Plan B, C and D will be initiated.

He encourages his theatre staff to alert him when a cut off Sp02 is reached so he can move to the next course of action. He comes prepared – for example, by having the cricothyroid membrane marked out.

Furthermore, it is important to consider putting the patient to sleep and waking them up. As Ben puts it – pay attention to the take off as well as the landing!

Lastly, the post-operative care is significantly important. Remember patient positioning in bed (not slumped) and encourage early mobilisation.

These patients need to be up and moving, as well as having the appropriate DVT prophylaxis in place. The obese patient presents unique challenges to the anaesthetist.

Anaesthetics in Bariatric Surgery: Ben Shippey

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Ben Shippey