Facial features could indicate anaesthetic risk

PHOTO: Facial features could indicate anaesthetic risk

It is possible to estimate the risk of being anaesthetized just by observing an individual's facial features, a health management organization asserted.

Statistics has it that most cases of medical malpractice are the result of improper anaesthetic processes, and it is actually statistically valid to reason that patients' facial structures are directly related to the difficulty in properly inducing anaesthesia, Head of the Cathay Health Care Management Dunnan Center,  Wang Chi-hsiung  suggested.

If one can stick his or her index, middle, and ring fingers — pressed together — vertically into his mouth, then the individual's risk is low, Wang said. This is a logical conclusion derived from whether one's airway can remain unobstructed — the key to evaluating such risk.

Predicting difficulties a patient may endure during the process of being anesthetized could be done by observing his physical structure, and characteristics of his appearance, Wang said.

For example, those who have small mouths, short or narrow chins (measured from the tip of the chin to the Adam's apple), short necks, or are overweight, are all categorized as “difficult for intubations.”

Overweight people face the highest risk when being anesthetized, especially those who are chubby to the point that their necks are completely disguised by fat, because fat poses difficulties during intubations, Wang pointed out. Moreover, it is possible that oxygen masks will not fit if a face is too fatty, he said.

Short chins indicate limitations in facial bone and muscular structures, which could also lead to difficulties during intubations as well as during the de-tubing processes, Wang explained.