01 December 2009

Pre-op NRT could cut risk

Smokers have a higher rate of complications after surgery, and going on pre-operative nicotine replacement therapy cto quit smoking could reduce this risk.


The South African Orthopaedic Association said today that it supports the international finding on the risks of smoking before and after orthopedic surgery. This comes after the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) found that “people who smoke have a higher rate of complications after surgery (post-operative complications), particularly with would healing”.


When people smoke, there is an increase in carbon monoxide and nicotine in their blood which in turn increases blood pressure and pulse rate, while reducing the amount of oxygen in the body. The report added that surgery places a greater strain on circulation and oxygen supply and this scenario may be worse for people who smoke and undergo surgery.


The international institute further recommended that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) started a month or two before planned surgery could halve the risk of the complications like poor wound healing. The institute further reported that unlike nicotine found in cigarettes, therapeutic nicotine does not increase the carbon monoxide in the blood.


Says Vanessa Sew Chung Hong, brand manager of nicorette, SA’s leading provider of nicotine replacement therapy, “The report by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care supports the fact that NRT products are safe. NRT products have a lower dependence potential and are safer that cigarettes. The World Health Organisation also endorses NRT products as 'remarkably safe'. In fact, NRT is on the World Health Organisation of Essential Drug List as the first line treatment for smoking addiction”.


“We know and understand that quitting smoking is not easy especially difficult times such as preparing for surgery, but we encourage patients to look at the positives and benefits of quitting before such kinds of operations”, adds Sew Chung Hong.


The German Institute also reported that nicotine and carbon monoxide from smoking already start disappearing from the blood after 24 hours without cigarettes and lung function starts to improve after about 2 months of quitting smoking.


 - Adapted from a press release issued by Tandisizwe Mahlutshana for Redline


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