Quitting smoking after PCI leads to quality of life improvements

More than a quarter of patients undergoing PCI are smokers at the time of treatment. If they quit smoking following the procedure, they are more likely to have improvements in quality of life and have less chest pain and angina than if they continue to smoke, according to a prospective analysis of a PCI registry.

John Spertus, MD, MPH, of Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues published their findings online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions on May 12.

They evaluated 2,765 patients who underwent PCI at 10 U.S. hospitals and completed interviews as well as the disease-specific health Seattle Angina Questionnaire and the generic EuroQol 5 dimensions surveys. They also assessed patients’ smoking status by asking them to complete a self-report.

When patients underwent PCIs, 18 percent were current smokers, 48 percent were past smokers and 34 percent were nonsmokers.

The mean age of patients who were smokers at the time of their PCIs was 57 compared with 66 among people who never smoked. People who had smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime were included in the group of people who never smoked, according to the researchers.

One year after the procedures, 37.5 percent of smokers had quit and 62.5 percent continued smoking. Patients who quit had better scores in all health-related quality of life domains. In addition, 21 percent of people who quit smoking and 31 percent of people who continued smoking had chest pain a year after they underwent PCIs.

“It’s not just important that we do a good job treating the blockage,” Spertus said in a news release. “Cardiologists have to work with patients to help them stop smoking, whether it means nicotine replacement, a smoking cessation program or some other intervention.”