JAMA Logo We are already aware that cigarette smoking may be a major risk factor for postoperative complications. Those who indulge in smoking apparently end up in an intensive care unit and have a higher risk of in-hospital mortality than those who don’t smoke. A latest study now claims that giving up cigarette smoking shortly before surgery does not elevate the threat of postoperative complications.

The study focused on gaining evidence that those who stop smoking within eight weeks before surgery have lesser postoperative complications. For this, investigators thoroughly scrutinized existing studies through a search of medical literature. Nine studies possibly met with the criteria of comparing post-operative complications in patients who stopped smoking eight weeks or less prior to surgery with those who continued to smoke.

Authors quote, “Future studies should focus on patients with a very short duration of abstinence and should use biochemical validation of self-reported abstinence. In the meantime, until some new evidence of harm emerges, firm advice to stop smoking and an offer of smoking cessation treatment to those who need it can be provided to pre-surgical patients at any time.”

All the nine studies were combined to highlight the beneficial or detrimental effect of quitting within eight weeks before surgery. Katie Myers, M.Sc., C.Psychol, and colleagues from Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, discovered that smoking cessation does not associate with postoperative complications. It was therefore concluded that patients subjected to surgery have to stop smoking, so that postoperative complications are purportedly averted.

The study will appear in the July 11 print issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.