Study: Heavy drinkers at high risk for post-op complications

06/28/2013 | Reuters

Patients who regularly consume more than a couple of drinks daily and undergo surgery are twice as likely to die and have a 73% higher chance of developing a post-operative infection, an 80% higher chance of developing breathing complications and a 29% higher chance of requiring intensive care after surgery than non-drinkers, a meta-analysis published in the Annals of Surgery found. Heavy drinking can depress the immune system and increase the endocrine stress response to surgery, lead author Marie Eliasen said. More research is needed to determine whether heavy drinkers can reduce their risks through pre-surgical cessation programs, Eliasen said.

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