Alcohol improves quality of life after surgery
“One possible explanation is that drinking more alcohol can lead to high moods, increased sociability, and reduced stress.”
As people live longer, the number of older adults receiving elective surgery is expected to increase. It is therefore important to understand the impact of alcohol consumption on surgical outcomes.
For this study, researchers examined the association between alcohol consumption before surgery and quality of life after surgery in 628 patients (231 women and 397 men) from the PROPDESC (Screen Screening) trial. preoperatively for postoperative delirium), including adults age 60 and older who underwent elective surgeries lasting at least one hour at Bonn University Hospital between 2018 and 2019 .
Patients were asked to report their drinking habits at the start of the study using the Alcohol Use-to-Consume Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C), which looked at drinking frequency, drink volume, and alcohol consumption. each drink and the times of heavy drinking.
They also filled out a questionnaire about their quality of life, which included questions about mobility, self-care tasks (eg, washing and dressing), usual activities (eg, study, work, housework, family or recreational activities), pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression during the preoperative anesthesia visit and again in 180 days after surgery.
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The researchers adjusted for a range of factors, including age, ASA (American Society of Anesthesiology) physical status classification, education level, and body mass index (BMI).
The participants were then divided into two groups based on their alcohol intake — no or little alcohol (LAC) and moderate to potentially hazardous alcohol consumption (HAC). Overall, 186 patients (30%) reported drinking a lot of potentially unhealthy alcohol — 138 men (22%) and 48 women (8%).
The mean BMI of LAC patients was significantly higher than that of HAC patients (28 kg/m2 vs 27 kg/m2 respectively), especially in female patients (29 kg/m2 vs 25 kg/m2). corresponding). HAC patients were also more likely to report a higher level of education (more than 12 years of schooling).
Prior to surgery, patients in the HAC group reported significantly better overall health, less pain/discomfort, and were more able to take care of themselves and were better able to perform usual activities than with people in the LAC group.
Female HAC patients found it easier to perform usual activities and reported less pain/discomfort than female LAC patients, resulting in a significantly better overall preoperative quality of life compared with female LAC patients. female LAC.
However, there was no significant difference in quality of life before surgery between male patients who drank little or no alcohol and those who drank unhealthy amounts of alcohol.
Postoperative analyzes showed that overall, HAC patients reported significantly better mobility, self-care, and normal activities than LAC patients. Similarly, women in the HAC group reported fewer problems performing their usual activities and were significantly better at assessing their overall health than women who abstained from alcohol or drank moderately. very low.
The authors acknowledge that their findings are observational and that they only evaluated patients who underwent surgery at a hospital in Germany.
They also point out that the results were part of a trial performed to assess risk scores for postoperative delirium and thus additional confounding factors may affect quality of life ( including socioeconomic status, comorbidities, physical activity) were not evaluated. In addition, they note that the cut-off values of the AUDIT-C test have not been validated in elderly hospital patients, so its sensitivity and specificity in this group are unknown.
Dr. Wittmann concludes: “Therefore, only trends can be assumed in the relationship between alcohol consumption and quality of life.” “But this is an interesting topic for further research.”