According to research presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ECS) Congress 2012 suggests that resuming smoking after stroke can increase patients’ risk of death by 3-fold. Furio Colivicchi, MD, San Flippo Neri Hospital, Rome, reportedly presented the data, which also indicated that the earlier that patients resumed smoking, the higher their risk of death became within one year. 

A recent ECS news release notes that the study targeted the effects of resuming smoking following stroke and also aimed to assess how many patients were likely to relapse. San Flippo Neri Hospital cardiologists collaborated with neurologists from the Santa Lucia Foundation of Rome to track 584 men and 337 women who reported themselves as being regular smokers prior to hospitalization with acute ischemic stroke, with a mean age of 67 ± 16 years. 

The results indicate that all patients ceased smoking while in the hospital and reported that they were motivated to continue abstaining upon discharge. The patients were also required to attend brief smoking cessation counseling sessions while in the hospital. No nicotine or other smoking cessation help was provided after the patients were discharged from the hospital, researchers say. 

Researchers note that they interviewed patients regarding their smoking status at one month, 6 months, and 12 months following their release from the hospital. The results suggest that by the end of the first year, 53% of patients had resumed regular smoking. Researchers add that older patients and women were among the most likely to relapse. 

The release reports that within one year, 89 patients had expired, equating to a one-year probability of death of 9.6%. Following the adjustment for patient ages and other clinical variables that included stroke severity, presence of diabetes, hypertension or coronary artery disease, the study indicates that resuming smoking raised an individual’s risk of death by 3-fold compared to patients who did not relapse. The results also suggest that the earlier a patient relapsed, the more likely he or she was to expire within a year. 

Colivicchi adds that, “In fact, those who resumed smoking within 10 days of leaving the hospital were five times more likely to die within a year than those who continued to abstain.”

The study’s’ results, Colivicchi says, call for health care providers to emphasize smoking cessation interventions more. The establishment of a successful program to assist stroke patients in quitting smoking should center on a comprehensive long-term approach encompassing individual counseling, post-discharge support, and pharmacological treatment, Colivicchi says.

Source: ESC