Purpose: Obese patients present a challenge to safe general anesthesia because of impaired cardiopulmonary physiology and increased risks of aspiration and acute upper airway obstruction. Since studies are lacking regarding the postoperative effects on recovery from general anesthesia in morbidly obese patients, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of recovery outcomes in morbidly obese patients who had undergone general anesthesia. Source: We systematically searched the PubMed, EMBASE™, Cochrane, and Scopus™ databases for randomized controlled trials that evaluated the outcome of anesthesia with desflurane, sevoflurane, isoflurane, or propofol in morbidly obese patients. Using a random effects model, we conducted meta-analyses to assess recovery times (eye opening, hand squeezing, tracheal extubation, and stating name or birth date), time to discharge from the postanesthesia care unit (PACU), and the incidence and severity of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Principal findings: We reviewed results for 11 trials and found that patients given desflurane took less time: to respond to commands to open their eyes (weighted mean difference [WMD] −3.10 min; 95% confidence interval (CI): −5.13 to −1.08), to squeeze the investigator’s hand (WMD −7.83 min; 95% CI: −8.81 to −6.84), to be prepared for tracheal extubation (WMD −3.88 min; 95% CI: −7.42 to −0.34), and to state their name (WMD −7.15 min; 95% CI: −11.00 to −3.30). We did not find significant differences in PACU discharge times, PONV, or the PACU analgesic requirement. Conclusion: Postoperative recovery was significantly faster after desflurane than after sevoflurane, isoflurane, or propofol anesthesia in obese patients. No clinically relevant differences were observed regarding PACU discharge time, incidence of PONV, or postoperative pain scores. The systematic review was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42014009480).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-917
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Anesthesia
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 23 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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