During operations, both smokers and those exposed to passive smoke require more anesthetic and painkillers as compared to non-smokers, shows a new research. The findings by Erdogan Ozturk and colleagues from Bezmialem Vakif University, Istanbul, Turkey, suggest that nicotine could affect the metabolism of anesthetic drugs in the liver, or may desensitize of the some nerve cells that sense pain.
In this new study, the authors investigated whether there is a difference among smokers, passive smokers, and non-smokers in terms of intra-operative anesthetic and painkiller consumption.
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The patients were divided into three groups (30 patients each) based on smoke exposure, confirmed by measurement of serum cotinine (a metabolite of nicotine and marker of tobacco smoke exposure). One group consisted of smokers, another of passive smokers and last group consisted of women with no history of smoking and also no environmental smoke exposure.
After the operation, the total amount of the anesthetic and the painkiller used was recorded. Among smokers, the amount of anesthetic was 38% higher than used for non-smokers and 17% higher than for passive smokers. Among passive smokers, the amount used was 18% higher than among non-smokers.
"The amounts of anesthetic and painkiller required to ensure equal anesthetic depth in similar surgeries was higher in active smokers and passive smokers compared to non-smokers," the authors said.
The research was presented at Euro-anesthesia meeting in Berlin, Germany.