There is compelling evidence that smoking leads to poor postoperative outcomes including increased incidence of wound infection, respiratory infection, sepsis, cardiac arrest, and mortality. There is also compelling evidence that smoking cessation before surgery leads to improved outcomes. A recent meta-analysis found that brief smoking interventions may be insufficient to change postoperative outcomes. However, more intensive evidence-based smoking cessation interventions do improve postoperative outcomes and lead to long-term smoking abstinence. From a healthcare perspective, this raises a question of how to best provide effective perioperative smoking cessation treatment to a population.
Duke University Health System recently developed a systematic approach to perioperative smoking cessation. In this report, we outline evidence-based principles for perioperative smoking cessation and describe initial results from a perioperative smoking cessation program.
In the first 100 days of the Duke Perioperative Smoking Cessation Program, we received 420 referrals. Participants had a mean pack-year history of 50.3 (packs/day×years smoking; SD 32.5), a mean Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence score of 4.5 (SD 2.5), and a mean expired breath carbon monoxide of 11.8 (SD 7.5) parts per million. Mean days from initial perioperative smoking cessation visit to surgery was 21.4 (SD 22.3).
This model of perioperative smoking cessation is in the early stages of development; however, evidence-based perioperative smoking cessation services can be effective across a health system.