Smoking, Children And Open Heart Valve Surgery
I think it’s called a coincidence, or maybe serendipity, or even deja vu.
Regardless of the official terminology, I just received two, back-to-back email questions about cigarette smoke and heart valve surgery. That’s pretty strange because I have never received any questions about cigarettes during the past 18 months I’ve been writing this blog about heart valve replacement and heart valve repair. Quite odd, right?
Anyways, the first smoke-related question I received was from Michelle, a concerned mother and caregiver. She writes…
“Hi Adam – I have an 8 year old daughter who had open heart surgery when she was 4 years old. She had a mitral valve repair. Long story short, she is doing wonderful. My problem is, my fiancé does not understand me how dangerous it is for my daughter to go to his mothers house to visit. My fiance’s mother and her husband are smokers. They smoke inside their house. Can you help me with some facts that I can bring to my boyfriend’s attention to help him realize the truth about second hand smoke and heart patients.”
MY RESPONSE TO MICHELLE’S QUESTION ABOUT SECOND-HAND CIGARETTE SMOKE, HEART SURGERY PATIENTS AND CHILDREN
I’ll be the first to admit when I don’t know something.
This is one of those times.
That said, I went to library and started researching the topic of smoking and open heart surgery.
(You didn’t believe that sentence above, did you? Come on… It’s 2008! I did what most people would do, I went to Google and started searching.:))
It can’t be!!!!
Even Google did not have much to offer. That’s right. I was unable to find any specific research on the impact of open heart surgery and second-hand, cigarette smoke upon children.
However, there was some research on second-hand smoke and its effects on children.
In fact, the American Heart Association just released new evidence that environmental tobacco smoke has an adverse effect on children as young as 11 years of age.
“Our study shows that exposure to secondhand smoke can harm the function of the arteries in children, just as other research groups have found that secondhand smoke harms the function of the arteries in adults,” said Katariina Kallio, M.D., lead author of the study and research fellow at the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Turku in Turku, Finland.
“Even a little exposure to smoke at home or in the public environment can be harmful to the cardiovascular system of healthy schoolchildren,” Kallio said.
I hope this helps answer some of your concern about smoke and children with or without heart surgery.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.