Increased Amount of Anesthesia Required by Smokers

According to Erdogan Ozturk, MD, who is an investigator associated with the Bezmialem Vakif University located in Istanbul people who smoke tobacco products require about thirty eight percent more propofol in order to be put to sleep for surgical procedures. If you think that you only smoke a little, so your needs for more anesthetics will not be affected you might be surprised to learn that passive smokers need about eighteen percent more anesthesia than non-smokers.

The Study

A group of ninety women who were all scheduled to have a total abdominal hysterectomy were used to verify the theories that smokers require more anesthetic during surgeries.

The women were divided into three groups. Thirty women were smokers, thirty women were passive smokers or someone that lived with a smoker, and the other thirty women were non-smokers who came from non-smoking households.

To confirm the smokers from the non-smokers the participant’s levels of cotinine were measured.

All of the women had the same type of intravenous anesthesia used during their procedure. After the surgery, the women were given remifentanil when they experienced pain. The research kept track of the amounts of propofol that was required when administering the anesthetic and the amounts of remifentanil that was required to keep the women free of pain.

The Results

Ye smokers required an average of 102.76 mg of the propofol in order to be put to sleep. The passive smokers, or people who lived with a smoker required 84.53 mg of the propofol and the non-smokers only required 63.17 mg. That meant that the smokers needed thirty eight percent more propofol, and the passive smokers needed seventeen percent more.

For the pain medicine after the procedure the smokers required 1,315 mcg, and the passive smokers required 1,241 mcg, and the non-smokers required only 1,010 mcg. That meant that the smokers needed twenty three percent more pain medication after a surgical procedure to maintain their comfort level

Reasons Why

One reason that researchers believe that smoker’s need more pain medicine is the theory that nicotine affects the way the liver metabolizes the anesthetics.

What this means for Health Professionals

Health professionals should take this information into consideration and devise individual pain therapy treatment plans based on whether a person smokes or not. To date, when a doctor prescribes pain medication, they consider the patients weight, their sex, and the problem they have that is causing the pain. Now the health care professionals can know that it takes more pain medication to soothe the pain felt by a smoker, so they can adjust the amount of medications they prescribe for these individuals.

What this means to smokers

If you are a smoker then you can be aware that you might need higher doses of pain medication in order to manage pain, and if you have to have a surgical procedure you are likely to require more anesthetic. If you are a smoker and live in the house with a non-smoker you can be aware that your exposing them to smoke may make them require higher levels of pain medication after surgeries as well.