Following surgery a patient may experience oxygen desaturation. This may be overlooked during the transfer to the recovery area or soon after arrival. 

Patient selection: postoperative patient


Outcome: oxygen saturation with SpO2 < 90%


Risk factors for oxygen desaturation:

(1) obesity

(2) greater level of sedation

(3) low respiratory rate

(4) transport without supplemental oxygen

(5) no or inadequate monitoring

(6) obstructive sleep apnea


Significant problems can be avoided by providing supplemental oxygen and monitoring the patient, especially if risk factors are present.

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