Researchers at The Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, determined the effect of smoking in noncardiac surgical patients.

First, the details.

  • 82,304 current smokers were matched with 82,304 never-smokers.
  • Major and minor morbidity outcomes 30 days after surgery in noncardiac surgical patients were recorded.

And, the results.

  • Current smokers were more likely to die than never smokers.
  • Current smokers had significantly greater odds of pneumonia, unplanned intubation to help with breathing, and mechanical ventilation.
  • Current smokers were significantly more likely to experience a cardiac arrest, heart attack, or stroke.
  • Current smokers also had significantly higher odds of having superficial and deep infections at the incision site, sepsis, organ infections, and septic shock.

The bottom line?

Accordingly, the authors concluded, “Smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of 30-day mortality and serious postoperative complications.”

Other studies confirm that smoking increases the risk of lung complications after an anesthetic as much as 6 times. It’s a risk factor for complications affecting lung function to wound healing to cardiovascular events such as heart attack.

10/3/11 19:47 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.