Do difficult airway techniques predispose obese patients to bronchospasm?

Polyhronis Ieropoulos, Vassilios Tassoudis, Nick Ntafoulis, Ioanna Mimitou, George Vretzakis, George Tzovaras, Dimitrios Zacharoulis, Menelaos Karanikolas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The existing evidence separately correlates morbid obesity with difficult intubation and bronchospasm. However, there is a lack of data on whether anaesthesia provider manipulations during difficult intubation contribute to an increased ratio of bronchospasm in these patients. Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of data prospectively taken from 50 morbidly obese patients involved in a previously published study. A possible difficult intubation was preoperatively investigated by recording the following specific physical examination indices: Mallampati and Cormack–Lehane (CL) classifications, cervical spine mobility (CSM), thyromental distance (Td) and patients’ ability to open their mouth (mouth opening). Bronchospasm was clinically detected by auscultation and confirmed by measuring peak airway pressures during mechanical ventilation. The Kruskal–Wallis H test was used for data analysis, followed by the Mann-Whitney U test as applicable. Results: Different physical examination prognostic indices, including Mallampati and CL scales (p<0.001; the CSM excluded −p=0.790), showed that they are related to difficult intubation. Bronchospasm not attributable to difficult intubation was observed in six obese patients. Conclusion: Patients with morbid obesity constitute an increased relative risk group as far as difficult intubation is concerned, particularly if preoperative findings support a relationship between the two variables examined. In our study, difficult intubation and the concomitant use of special equipment and manipulations did not contribute to an increased rate of bronchospasm in obese patients, but in view of the lack of data, a large number of more sophisticated studies are required to elucidate such an assumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-296
Number of pages5
JournalTurk Anesteziyoloji ve Reanimasyon Dernegi Dergisi
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Bronchospasm
  • Difficult airway
  • Difficult intubation
  • Obesity
  • Physical examination of the upper airway


Dive into the research topics of 'Do difficult airway techniques predispose obese patients to bronchospasm?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this