WHO: Quitting smoking a month before surgery benefits patients

WHO: Quitting smoking a month before surgery benefits patients

PanARMENIAN.Net - Tobacco smokers are at significantly higher risk than non-smokers for post-surgical complications including impaired heart and lung functions, infections and delayed or impaired wound healing.

But new evidence reveals that smokers who quit approximately 4 weeks or more before surgery have a lower risk of complication and better results 6 months afterwards. Patients who quit smoking tobacco are less likely to experience complications with anesthesia when compared to regular smokers, the World Health Organization said on Monday, January 20.

A new joint study by WHO, the University of Newcastle, Australia and the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA), shows that every tobacco-free week after 4 weeks improves health outcomes by 19%, due to improved blood flow throughout the body to essential organs.

“The report provides evidence that there are advantages to postponing minor or non-emergency surgery to give patients the opportunity to quit smoking, resulting in a better health outcome,” said Dr Vinayak Prasad, Head of Unit, No Tobacco, World Health Organization.

The Nicotine and carbon monoxide, both present in cigarettes, can decrease oxygen levels and greatly increase risk of heart-related complications after surgery. Smoking tobacco also damages the lungs making it difficult for the proper amount of air to flow through, increasing the risk of post-surgical complications to the lungs. Smoking distorts a patient’s immune system and can delay healing, increasing the risk of infection at the wound site. Smoking just one cigarette decreases the body’s ability to deliver necessary nutrients for healing after surgery.

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