Elderly patients who regularly consume alcohol

Older adults (60 years or older) who consume potentially unhealthy amounts of alcohol report significantly better mobility and self-care and fewer problems undertaking daily activities after surgery compared to their peers who abstain from alcohol. alcohol or drink at very low levels.

The study by Vera Guttenthaler and Dr. Maria Wittmann of the University Hospital of Bonn in Germany is presented at this year’s Euroanaesthesia Congress in Milan, Italy (June 4-6).

“Our study finds that elderly patients with potentially unhealthy alcohol consumption report that certain aspects of their quality of life are better compared to those who abstain from alcohol or who drink at very low levels,” says Guttenthaler. . “One explanation may be that higher alcohol consumption can lead to elevated mood, increased sociability and reduced stress.”

As people live longer, the number of older people having elective surgery is expected to increase. It is therefore important to understand the impact of alcohol consumption on the results of surgery.

For this study, researchers examined associations between preoperative alcohol consumption and postoperative quality of life in 628 patients (231 women and 397 men) from the Pre-operative Screening for Postoperative Delirium (PROPDESC) trial, which includes adults aged 60 or over. elderly people undergoing elective surgeries lasting at least one hour at Bonn University Hospital between 2018 and 2019.

Patients were asked to report their drinking habits at the start of the study using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT-C), which takes into account the frequency of consumption, the quantity of drinks consumed on each occasion and the occurrences of excessive alcohol consumption.

They also completed a questionnaire about their quality of life, including questions about mobility, self-care tasks (eg, bathing and dressing), usual activities (eg, studying, working , housework, family or leisure activities), pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression at their preoperative anesthesia visit and again 180 days after surgery.

The researchers adjusted for a range of factors, including age, ASA (American Society of Anesthesia) physical condition classification, education level, and body mass index (BMI).

Participants were then divided into two groups based on their drinking – no or low drinking (LAC) and medium to potentially hazardous drinking (HAC). Overall, 186 patients (30%) reported drinking potentially harmful amounts of alcohol: 138 men (22%) and 48 women (8%).

The average BMI of LAC patients was significantly higher than the BMI of HAC patients (28 kg/m2 against 27 kg/m2respectively), especially in female patients (29 kg/m2 against 25 kg/m2 respectively). HAC patients were also significantly more likely to report higher levels of education (more than 12 years of education).

Prior to surgery, patients in the HAC group reported significantly better overall health, less pain/discomfort, and were more likely to perform self-care and had better ability to perform usual activities than those in the LAC group . HAC patients found it easier to undertake usual activities and reported less pain/discomfort than LAC patients, resulting in a significantly better overall preoperative quality of life compared to LAC women. However, there were no significant differences in preoperative quality of life between men who consumed little or no alcohol and those who drank potentially harmful amounts of alcohol.

Postoperative analyzes revealed that, overall, HAC patients reported significantly better mobility, self-care, and usual activities than LAC patients. Similarly, women in the HAC group reported fewer problems performing usual activities and rated their overall health as significantly better than women who abstained from alcohol or drank at very high levels. low levels.

The authors acknowledge that their results are observational and that they only evaluated patients undergoing surgery at a hospital in Germany. They also point out that the results are part of a trial conducted to assess a risk score for postoperative delirium and therefore additional confounding factors that may influence quality of life (including socioeconomic status, comorbidities, physical activity) were not assessed. Additionally, they note that cutoff values ​​for the AUDIT-C test have not been validated in older hospitalized patients, so its sensitivity and specificity in this group are unknown.

“Therefore, only a trend in the relationship between alcohol consumption and quality of life could be assumed,” Dr. Wittmann concludes. “But it’s an exciting subject for further study.”

For interviews with the authors of the report, please contact Maria Wittmann, University Hospital Bonn, Germany E) [email protected] T) +49(0)1515 8233192

Alternate contact in the Euroanaesthesia press room: Tony Kirby T) + 44(0)7834 385827 E) [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This press release is based on a poster abstract 13AP05-10 at Euroanesthesia. All accepted abstracts have been carefully reviewed by the conference selection committee. There is no complete article at this stage, but the authors are happy to answer your questions. The research has not yet been submitted to a medical journal for publication.

An explanation of the AUDIT-C test used in this study – a standard test for measuring potentially unhealthy alcohol consumption – can be found here


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