Smokers who are due to undergo surgery must get more help to quit, leading Swedish surgeons and anesthetists argue in an article published in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper today.
Åsa Edsander-Nord, from the Swedish Plastic Surgeons Association and a member of the Swedish Surgeons Council, told Swedish Radio that problems with wound healing, infections and even blood clots and other more serious afflictions are higher among smokers than non-smokers.
National guidelines issued in 2011 outline ways in which health care workers should help patients scheduled for surgery give up smoking. According to some studies, patients should avoid smoking for a few months before and after a surgery.
Today, health care staff receive training in how to encourage patients to quit, but Esander-Nord says it is not enough.
She emphasized that all patients should receive the care they need and that the requirement to quit smoking should not apply to patients in need of emergency surgery.