Park Ridge, Illinois—What if you were denied a surgical procedure because you smoke and refuse to quit? It does happen! That’s one reason why, for this year’s National Kick Butts Day, on March 15, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) are encouraging patients to stop smoking and be proactive about their health.
Not surprisingly, smokers tend to suffer more complications after surgery and anesthesia than non-smokers. As a result, physicians sometimes require smokers to stop smoking
before they will agree to perform surgery on them. Doing so minimizes risks and possible complications and gives patients the best opportunity for a successful outcome. Complications for smokers can include blood clots, heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, a higher level of pain, or even death. Because smoking affects the working condition of the lungs, the administration of anesthetic drugs, maintenance of safe oxygen levels, and other critical aspects of anesthesia care are more challenging with patients who smoke than with those who do not.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, resulting in nearly half a million deaths each year in the United States. More than 16 million Americans are currently living with one or more of the many diseases caused by smoking.
“Abstaining from smoking is the one of the best things a patient can do for their overall health,” says AANA President-elect Bruce Weiner, MS, CRNA. “More specifically, for patients requiring anesthesia for surgery, smoking cessation well ahead of a procedure, improves pulmonary function and patient outcomes. In the long run, healthier lungs improve quality of life. We strongly support lifestyle changes that focus on healthy living.”