National Anaesthesia Day raises awareness on obesity complications during surgery

October 16, 2015

Obesity is often associated with health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. What we don’t always think of are the complications caused by obesity when undergoing surgery.

With one in three people across Australia and New Zealand estimated to be obese, Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) anaesthetists are on the Level 3 bridge today to spread the message.

Today is National Anaesthesia Day and RPH Associate Professor of Anaesthesia Dr Richard Riley said this year’s theme: ‘Obesity complicates Anaesthesia’ is an opportunity for the team to discuss the risks associated with carrying excess weight when undergoing surgery.

“The risk of complications in an overweight patient undergoing surgery are much higher,” Dr Riley said.

“An overweight patient has a higher risk of complication, with managing their airway and risks of cardiac and respiratory complications being some key factors for our concern,” Dr Riley said.

To give passers-by a visual demonstration of the risks for an overweight patient under anaesthesia, the team have set up an overweight mannequin on the bridge.

“By meeting face-to-face with staff, patients and visitors we hope to help them understand the risks and provide advice on what they can do to reduce them,” Dr Riley said.

National Anaesthesia Day is recognised Australia-wide and provides community members, patients and carers the chance to interact face-to-face with medical professionals, and start a conversation on the growing problem of obesity in Australia.