Prevalence of patients continuing to smoke after vascular interventions.

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift

PubMedID: 16794758

Assadian A, Rotter R, Senekowitsch C, Assadian O, Hagmüller GW, Kunze M. Prevalence of patients continuing to smoke after vascular interventions. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2006;118(7-8):212-6.
Smoking is one of the most important risk factors for the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Smoking cessation is an obligatory element in the management of vascular problems and in patients scheduled for vascular interventions. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of patients smoking before and after vascular surgical procedures and to evaluate the requirements for inpatient programs for smoking cessation and nicotine replacement therapy.

500 patients admitted for vascular interventions were included in this prospective study. Smoking status was evaluated both objectively and subjectively. All patients underwent measurements of exhaled breath carbon monoxide to quantify nicotine dependency and all answered a standardized Fagerström questionnaire both on admission and after surgery to identify current smokers.

Of 500 vascular patients included in the study, only 70 (14 %) never had smoked, 243 (49 %) had given up smoking before admission and 161 (32 %) were current smokers. Of the current smokers, 64 (40 %) did not smoke during hospitalization but 97 (60 %) continued to smoke in hospital. Of these 97 patients, 78 (80 %) were men and 19 women; their mean age was 61 +/- 4 years (range 40-84). Four patients had surgery for infrarenal aortic aneurysm, 40 underwent carotid endarterectomy and 53 had peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD). There was no difference between abstinent patients and continuing smokers in previous cigarette consumption or Fagerström score, a predictor for long-term smoking behavior. Patients with carotid artery stenosis were significantly more abstinent while hospitalized (P = 0.006); patients with PAD, however, were more likely to continue smoking as inpatients (P = 0.004). Sixty-five percent of continuing smokers stated that they would stop smoking in hospital if counseling and nicotine replacement therapy were provided. With regard to their predominant location of atherosclerosis, patients with PAD were less willing than those with carotid stenosis to abstain from smoking while hospitalized (53 % vs 88 %, respectively; P < 0.001).

A substantial proportion of patients admitted for vascular surgery are smokers. More than half of these continue to smoke in the hospital, an environment where smoking is prohibited by law. Counseling, nicotine replacement therapy and smoking-cessation programs are urgently needed for vascular surgical inpatients.