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Screening for OSA in Bariatric Surgery

When it comes to life, there are a lot of unsolved mysteries floating around out there. Which came first, the chicken or the egg, for example. But while these mysteries are fun to ponder, there is at least one that’s much more serious: which should come first- sleep apnea screening or bariatric surgery?

Recently, a team of researchers aimed to solve this puzzle in the journal Obesity. The study examined surveys given to patients to pre-screen them for obstructive sleep apnea prior to undergoing bariatric surgery for obesity.

What the study found was that the survey results were often inaccurate, putting obstructive sleep apnea patients at risk. Obstructive sleep apnea is frequently caused by obesity. The condition causes the stopping and restarting of breathing throughout the night, dropping blood oxygen levels and causing the affected person to wake repeatedly. This has serious consequences during waking hours, including depression and exhaustion. Obstructive sleep apnea can also contribute to diabetes and heart disease.

Unfortunately, the screening surveys were found to not be accurate enough in many cases to catch OSA in some patients, and thus researchers in the study do not find it adequate to use prior to bariatric surgery.

So what do they recommend? According to Obesity, a full sleep study should be conducted on bariatric surgery patients prior to their procedure. This will provide doctors with definitive answers and will allow them to address the sleep apnea prior to surgery. This will lead to more positive surgical outcomes.

Doctors in the study reason that because bariatric surgery is considered an elective surgical procedure, plenty of time is available to schedule a sleep study prior to the bariatric surgery, as is there time to begin treatment of sleep apnea prior to the surgical procedure.

If you are obese and considering bariatric surgery, we recommend you follow your surgeon’s orders but suggest you be proactive about your health and elect to be screened for obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Peterson can address your sleep apnea with the use of sleep orthotics, which will help get you the good night’s sleep you want and help you along on your path to wellness in conjunction with your bariatric surgery.

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Posted in: sleep apnea

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