Being married represents an advantage if you are going through heart surgery, as patients that are divorced, separated or widowed are more likely to die or to develop a disability after the procedure.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted the study with data from 1,576 patients which showed that married patients had a better recovery than those who were separated. The data of the patients, aged 50 years old and older, was taken from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study.
They examined and measured certain activities after surgery, called “activities of daily living” such as dressing oneself, walking, and eating oneself. Patients that had no couple faced a 40 percent risk of dying, or not being able to handle those daily living activities.
“When we think about people going to have surgery, we usually look for risk factors, things that make us suspect they’ll have a longer recovery or not a full recovery. It’s important to identify risk factors because we can provide extra support for after surgery,” Dr. Rachel Wegner, co-author of the study said, according to CBS.
Scientists believe the key of the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is to understand why married patients recover better from these type of procedures, looking for a way of helping and supporting those who are more vulnerable.
Doctors believe that being married is a big help against the common depression suffered after going through a surgery. Nevertheless, researchers say that it is difficult to measure the impact on daily living activities.
“When you have a married person, they tend to have a very good social support system. A partner can mitigate those effects. Active help with everything from cooking to getting around is important in the weeks and months immediately following cardiac surgery,” said Dr. Aditya Bansal according to CBS.
However, the study fails to prove any cause-and-effect relation between not being married, the procedure, and the inability of doing certain activities, as more research on the field has to be made. There are only speculations about the advantages and support that married patients have.
Nevertheless, paying attention to these details, like the marital and mental health status from an elderly person going through a big surgical event, is crucial to prevent future health issues as it helps to provide a better outcome of the patient.
Source: CBS News