Marriage and mortality after noncardiac surgery.
BACKGROUND: Marriage is linked to substantial societal and economic benefits, and it has been associated with improved outcomes following acute illness. However, it is not known if being married confers benefit to patients undergoing noncardiac surgical procedures. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients undergoing any noncardiac surgical procedure were included over a period of 19 months. All-cause mortality at 2 years was determined by linking patient records to the National Death Index. Risk adjustment was performed using Cox modeling and the Cleveland Clinic risk stratification index. RESULTS: Of the 11,588 patients included, 7830 (68.0%) were married at the time of surgery. There was a significant interaction between sex and marital status (P = 0.03), so the remainder of the analysis was performed separately by sex. Among men, not being married was associated with significantly worse survival (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06, 1.63), whereas among women, there was no significant association between marital status and survival (HR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.77, 1.15). Furthermore, divorced men (HR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.25, 2.51) and never married men (HR: 1.53, 95% CI: 1.14, 2.05) had significantly worse survival than married men, whereas there was no significant difference between widowed men and married men, nor when comparing widowed, divorced, or never married women to married women. CONCLUSIONS: Among a diverse group of surgical patients, being married at the time of surgery is associated with significantly improved survival only among men. Focused efforts to improve social support for unmarried male patients may improve outcomes.
Gulack, BC; Hale, B; White, WD; Moon, RE; Bennett-Guerrero, E
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