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Patients who stopped smoking after undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery lived 3 years longer than those who kept smoking, according to a large retrospective study. In fact, smoking cessation had more effect on reducing mortality than any other intervention or treatment.


Researchers analyzed 30-year clinical outcomes in 1,041 patients who underwent CABG surgery. Forty-three percent of the 551 smokers in the study stopped smoking during the first year after surgery.


During the median follow-up of 29 years, the cumulative 10-, 20-, and 30-year survival rates were 88%, 49%, and 19%, respectively, among smokers who quit. The survival rates for those who continued smoking over the same time intervals were 77%, 36%, and 11%, respectively. In all, life expectancy for those who quit was 20 years compared with 17 years for those who continued to smoke.


Smoking cessation was associated with a 38% reduction in mortality. This mortality reduction was greater than that seen with taking aspirin, statins, and angiotensin- converting enzyme inhibitors.


Based on their findings, researchers recommend that smoking cessation programs be provided during hospitalization for patients diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction and patients undergoing cardiovascular surgeries and procedures.


Source: van Domburg RT, op Reimer WS, Hoeks SE, Kappetein AP, Bogers AJ. Three life-years gained from smoking cessation after coronary artery bypass surgery: a 30-year follow-up study. Am Heart J. 2008;156(3):473-476.