Simultaneous smoking and alcohol abuse prior to surgery greatly increases the risk of complicationsSmoking and alcohol abuse separately are known to increase the risk of complications after surgery. Recently, researchers have identified the highest risk of complications, re-hospitalization and reoperation when smoking and alcohol abuse are combined prior to surgery. Surgeons have been advised to pay special attention to such patients.
Researchers from the University and Graduate School of Medicine of Michigan evaluated the impact of concurrent smoking and alcohol abuse before surgery on the likelihood of adverse surgical outcomes. The results of the study are published in the journal Annals of Surgery.
They analyzed six years of data from 200,816 patients receiving surgical treatment in the state of Michigan. Participants were divided into four groups based on cigarette smoking habits and alcohol abuse (>2 servings of alcohol per day) in the year prior to surgery. In the first group, patients smoked and abused alcohol (1.4% of all participants). The second had only alcohol abusers (1.4%), the third had only smokers (22%), and the fourth had nonsmokers and no alcohol abuse.
Postoperative outcomes, surgical complications, frequency of re-hospitalization, repeat surgery, and emergency department visits were evaluated. The alcohol abuse and smoking group had an increased risk of surgical complications, re-hospitalization, and reoperation. Alcohol abuse separately increased the risk of reoperation, and smoking alone increased the rate of emergency department visits.
The researchers confirmed that simultaneous smoking and alcohol abuse prior to surgery increased the likelihood of complications, re-hospitalization, and reoperation more than these risk factors alone. The authors recommend that surgeons pay special attention to these patients.