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Obese, Asthmatic Kids Need Special Care Under Anesthesia
Date:10/19/2011

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Obese children need special attention when they undergo anesthesia, two new studies suggest.

In one study, researchers found that obese children with asthma suffer more complications from anesthesia than normal weight children with asthma. In the other study, researchers found that obese children require less of one type of anesthesia than normal weight kids.

If a child is obese, has asthma or both, parents should expect close monitoring, said researcher Dr. Olubukola Nafiu, an assistant professor of pediatric anesthesiology at the University of Michigan.

"Children who are obese and asthmatic have a twofold increased risk of developing respiratory problems when they are given anesthesia," Nafiu said.

Both studies are scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Chicago.

To determine if complications were more frequent among obese kids with asthma, Nafiu looked at 1,102 children and teens, aged 6 to 18, after anesthesia and divided them into four groups. One group was obese and had asthma, one group was normal weight with asthma, another was obese without asthma, and the last group was normal weight without asthma.

Those in the obese-asthmatic and obese non-asthmatic groups were more likely to have critical airway problems, such as spasms, than their thinner peers, the study found, but there were no fatal complications among the study patients.

Both obesity and asthma are known to be independent risk factors for respiratory problems during anesthesia, Nafiu said. Both conditions are increasing in U.S. children at an alarming rate, and the researchers wanted to find out if complications are more frequent in pediatric patients who have the two disorders.

Respiratory problems are a leading cause of complications, including death, during pediatric s
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