Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Modifications in Sedation: An Update.

Deborah Weatherspoon, Walden University
Deborah Sullivan, Walden University


One factor that may contribute to an increased risk for airway compromise is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sedation in this population carries an increased risk for hypopnea. Critical care nurses must decide on the amount and type of sedation to administer at the point of care. It is important for them to understand OSA and the routinely prescribed sedatives that may affect this disorder. This article discusses the pathophysiology of OSA and traits that may help identify patients with undiagnosed OSA. The most commonly prescribed sedative pharmacologic agents and adjunctive airway support mechanisms are reviewed for use in this population.