August 19, 2008

Smoking Increases Hemorrhage Risk in UPPP

Smoking appears to be linked with an increased rate of hemorrhage in patients who undergo a procedure done with a tonsillectomy, U.S. researchers said.

A uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or UPPP, is surgical procedure used to remove excess tissue from the throat with tonsillectomy -- a surgical procedure in which the tonsils are removed.

The study, published in the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, found that patients who smoked had an increased rate of hemorrhage when they had a UPPP with tonsillectomy, but not in those who undergo tonsillectomy alone.

Dr. Sean M. Demars, then of Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., and now of Bassett Army Community Hospital, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and colleagues evaluated the rate of post-operative bleeding in 1,010 tonsillectomy patients from 2000 to 2005. Age, sex and smoking status were also noted.

The total bleeding rate for all patients was 6.7 percent, but when divided into smokers and non-smokers, the bleeding rate for patients was 10.2 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

The large difference was found "to be attributable to a marked increase in post-operative hemorrhage in the patients who underwent UPPP -- 10.9 percent in smokers vs. 3.3 percent in non-smokers," the study authors said in a statement.