Prevalence of PErioperAtive CHildhood obesitY in children undergoing general anaesthesia in the UK: a prospective, multicentre, observational cohort study

Paediat Anaesthesia Trainee Res Ne

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Childhood obesity has become a serious global healthcare challenge. No UK data currently define its anaesthetic and perioperative implications. We aimed to determine obesity prevalence amongst UK children undergoing general anaesthesia and the incidence of predefined adverse perioperative events, and to compare perioperative obesity rates with National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) data.

Methods: During a site-selected consecutive 7-day study period, all children (2-16 yr) undergoing general anaesthesia were included. Anonymised hospital, surgical, and procedural details; demographic data; and adverse perioperative events were collected prospectively by Paediatric Anaesthesia Trainee Research Network (PATRN) collaborators.

Results: For this study, 102 UK hospitals participated and 4232 cases were included in the final analysis; 76% of hospitals did not routinely calculate BMI. In addition, 3030 (71.6%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 70.2-73.0%) children of healthy weight were compared with 537 (12.7%; 11.7-13.7%) children who were overweight and 478 (11.3%; 10.3-12.2%) children with obesity. Children with obesity (n=71; 14.9%) more commonly underwent (adeno)tonsillectomy than children of healthy weight (n=282; 9.3%; P

Conclusions: This large multicentre cohort study suggests a concerning prevalence of children with obesity presenting for anaesthesia. These results should be used to inform optimal provision of care for this population and support perioperative healthcare initiatives to address the burden of childhood obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-961
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number6
Early online date6 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements The authors thank Sarah Heikal, Hannah Lewis, Andrew Selman, and Deborshi Sinha for their dedication to supporting Perioperative Childhood Obesity in their roles on the Paediatric Anaesthesia Trainee Research Network (PATRN) Commit-tee. The authors are very grateful to all the PATRN site collaborators who contributed to data collection (see Supplementary materials for the list of collaborators), their local Research & Development departments, and the Clinical Research Networks that helped coordinate the study. The authors also thank the study sponsor, University Hospital Southampton, particularly Sharon Davies-Dear for her guidance. Finally, the authors acknowledge the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland for funding and supporting this work
Funding granted by the Paediatric Anaesthesia Research Fund of the APAGBI. The grant recipient was PATRN.

Data Availability Statement

Supplementary data to this article can be found online at


  • adverse events
  • childhood obesity
  • overweight
  • paediatric anaesthesia
  • perioperative
  • preoperative assess-ment
  • quality improvement
  • risk factors


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