-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking increases the risk
of complications and death following colorectal surgery, a new
The study is based on an analysis of data from 47,000 patients
in the United States who had major, non-emergency colorectal
surgery. Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical
Center in New York found that smoking raised the risk of
complications such as pneumonia and other infections by about 30
"Anecdotally, we know that many patients don't take the opportunity to quit or join a smoking cessation program before surgery," study lead author Dr. Fergal Fleming, an assistant professor in the department of surgery, said in a university news release.
"We want to find out what motivates patients, how can we make them a major player in their own care, and how can we as physicians do a better job of explaining issues like this to patients," Fleming explained.
The study, published in the August issue of the journal
Annals of Surgery, looked at 26,000 patients who had surgery
for colorectal cancer, 14,000 operated on because of diverticular
disease (small, inflamed pockets that form along the colon wall),
and 7,000 who had surgery for inflammatory bowel disease.
Twenty percent of the patients were current smokers, 19 percent
were former smokers and the rest had never smoked.
After taking age, body fat, alcohol use and other health
conditions into account, the researchers concluded that current
smokers still had an estimated 30 percent higher risk of dying or
developing complications following colorectal surgery compared to
those who never smoked.
Current smokers -- who were younger than ex-smokers and
never-smokers -- had the highest rates of pneumonia and infection,
were more likely to require additional surgery and had much longer
hospital stays, the researchers said.
They also found the rates of all complications and the risk of
death were significantly higher in patients who smoked two packs a
day for more than 30 years.
The American College of Surgeons has more about
smoking and surgery.
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