Kicking the butt before surgery cuts complications risk

March 13th, 2009 - 4:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 13 (ANI): Giving up smoking before surgery can almost half the risk of post-op complications, says a new study.

“Smokers are prone to developing a number of complications after surgery, ranging from impaired wound and bone healing to life-threatening pulmonary and cardiovascular problems” said Dr Omid Sadr Azodi from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

“This is why it is so important to find feasible, financially attractive and effective ways to help patients stop smoking before surgery, the expert added.

During the study, the researchers randomly assigned 117 patients who were due to undergo general or orthopaedic surgery to an intervention and control group.

“The intervention group attended weekly meetings or received telephone support and were provided with free nicotine replacement therapy, while the control group just received standard pre-operative care” said Sadr Azodi.

“Patients were then assessed at regular intervals before and after surgery and after 12 months,” he added.

They found that more than a third patients who took part in an eight-week smoking cessation programme before and after planned surgery were able to give up and most of them were still smoke free after a year.

They also experienced half as many complications after surgery as the patients who did not receive help to give up smoking, with 21 per cent experiencing problems as opposed to 41 per cent.

“Our study shows that providing support in the run up to surgery enabled a third of the patients who took part in the study to remain smoke free after a year, said Sadr Azodi.

“One interesting thing to emerge from the study was the high refusal rate. A further 76 patients declined to take part in our research because they were unwilling to give up smoking or were stressed by their forthcoming surgery, he added.

The study appears in journal Anaesthesia. (ANI)

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