Purpose: Patients who continue to smoke following coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) have substantially poorer outcomes than patients able to stop smoking after CABG. This study evaluated the effectiveness of two smoking cessation treatment strategies in patients undergoing CABG.
Methods: Two smoking cessation treatment strategies were compared in smokers who underwent CABG. In the conservative treatment strategy, smokers undergoing CABG were followed up prospectively at monthly intervals. Patients who started smoking again at any time in the year following CABG were asked to enroll in an 8-week smoking cessation program. In the aggressive treatment strategy, smokers undergoing CABG were asked to enroll in an 8-week smoking cessation program starting immediately after hospital discharge. The structure and makeup of the smoking cessation program used in the conservative and aggressive treatment strategies were identical. The primary study outcome was smoking status assessed by self-report and confirmed by expired carbon monoxide at 1.5 months, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after surgery.
Results: Nineteen patients were enrolled in the conservative treatment strategy, with 2 patients unavailable for follow-up prior to the first follow-up visit. Of the remaining 17 patients, 14 patients (82%) resumed smoking at an average of 10.3 weeks after CABG. Eleven of these 14 patients (79%) agreed to participate in the smoking cessation program. Based on evaluable patients, 10 of the 17 patients (59%) in the conservative strategy group were not smoking at the 12-month follow-up. Twenty patients were enrolled in the aggressive treatment strategy. All patients agreed to participate in the smoking cessation program. All patients were available for follow-up. At the 12-month follow-up, 17 of 29 patients (85%) in this treatment strategy were not smoking. Point prevalence and continuous abstinence cessation rates were significantly greater in the aggressive treatment strategy compared to the conservative treatment strategy at all follow-up intervals after CABG.
Conclusion: Based on our findings in a small number of patients, an aggressive smoking cessation intervention is associated with a superior smoking cessation rate compared to a conservative treatment strategy in smokers undergoing CABG. A larger study will be needed to confirm that an early aggressive smoking cessation intervention should be provided to all smokers undergoing CABG.