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Study: Patients in Smoking Cessation Program Had Fewer Post-Op Complications

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Patients who participated in an eight-week smoking cessation program stayed smoke-free one year after surgery and suffered half as many post-operative complications, according to new research from Sweden.

Science Daily reported March 12 that researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institute studied patients who smoked and were scheduled to have general or orthopedic surgeries. Patients received either smoking-cessation help (an intervention group) or the usual pre-operative care, said lead researcher Omid Sadr Azodi.

Thirty-three percent of those in the intervention group maintained abstinence from smoking for a year, while 21 percent had post-operative complications (compared to 15 and 41 percent of the control group, respectively).

“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,” Azodi said. “This is why it is so important to find feasible, financially attractive and effective ways to help patients stop smoking before surgery.

The results were published online Feb. 10, 2009 in the journal Anaesthesia.

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