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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 75-77

Hypoxaemia In the immediate post-operative period

Department of Anaesthesia, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Fidelia N Akpa
Dept. of Anaesthesia UNTH, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Impairment of gas-exchange during general anaesthesia with artificial ventilation and in the immediate post-operative period is a well-known finding. We have assessed the effect of different factors on the incidence and duration of post-operative hypoxaemia in 100 randomly selected surgical patients. In a prospective study over a one-year period using a Nellcor N180 oximeter, pre- and post-operative oxygen saturation while patients were breathing air were measured. Significant differences between pre-operative and post-operative oxygen saturation (SP02) were found in 27% of patients in our series. Patients at increased risk of persistent hypoxaemia were obese patients. (BM1 25-35kgm2) post thoractomy and upper abdominal surgery, patients on respiratory depressant drugs, patients with acute airway disease e.g. pulmunary oedema, pulmonary embolism, oral and throat surgery. Other groups of patients to be closely observed are anaemic patients (Hb 7gm/ dl) febrile patients and hypovolemic patients (Low CVP. Oligiria). There was significant association between low SP02 and recovery scores. Oxygen therapy and monitoring with pulse oximeter are therefore highly recommended in the immediate post-operative period till SPO2 breathing air is above 94% or has returned to pre-operative values.

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