Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Obesity in America is a known public health epidemic. Not only are more Americans considered obese, many are now classified as morbidly obese based on extreme excesses of Body Mass Index (BMI). As the incidence of obesity continues to climb, the need for enhanced knowledge in caring for this patient population exists. Obesity negatively affects nearly every physiological process and patients with obesity present unique challenges for the healthcare provider including the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Of particular concern to CRNAs arc the changes th, 1. occur to the pulmonmy sys cm. Ventilation and oxygenation of H1ese patients during anesthesia is often extremely challenging, yet is paramount to preventing pcrioperative atelectasis and other respiratory complications

The purpose of this independent project is to thoroughly review the literature and to determine from an evidence-based perspective, the best method or methods for ventilating, oxygenating and reducing respiratory complications for the morbidly obese patients undergoing anesthesia. The findings from this project will be presented to the first year anesthesia students and to fellow CRNAs at a state educational meeting. It is anticipated that enhanced knowledge of the CRNA and student registered nurse anesthetist (SRNA) regarding ventilation and oxygenation of the morbidly obese patient will positively impact patient care and ideally reduce perioperative respiratory complication