Non-Tobacco Nicotine dependence associated with increased Postoperative Complications following Intramedullary Nailing for Intertrochanteric Femur Fractures

Author(s): Sabrina M Pescatore, Sterling J DeShazo, Robert W Lindeman

Objectives: Nicotine usage is known to increase postoperative complications; however, studies show that the general population believes that non-tobacco nicotine delivery devices are a safer option compared to tobacco-based nicotine products. This study evaluates postoperative complications between non-tobacco nicotine dependent and non-nicotine dependent patients for intramedullary nailing in intertrochanteric femur fractures.

Methods: Utilizing the TriNetX database, we retrospectively examined postoperative outcomes in patients aged 18 to 90 who underwent intramedullary nailing for intertrochanteric femur fractures between November 21, 2013, and November 21, 2023. Two cohorts were analyzed: Cohort A comprised nicotine-dependent patients without tobacco product usage (e.g. cigarettes or chewing tobacco) and Cohort B consisted of patients without any nicotine dependence. Propensity matching was performed for BMI, type 2 diabetes, alcohol/substance abuse, socioeconomic status, and demographic factors. Outcomes assessed included mortality, sepsis, pneumonia, revision, dehiscence, pulmonary embolism, nonunion, and deep vein thrombosis within 1 day to 6 months post-treatment.

Results: A total of 2,041 non-tobacco nicotine dependent patients were matched with 22,872 non-nicotine dependent patients. Non-tobacco nicotine dependent patients experienced higher associated risk for numerous postoperative complications compared to non-nicotine dependent patients including increased risk for mortality within 6 months postoperatively (RR 1.386, 10.7% vs 7.7%, P = 0.001), sepsis (RR 1.459, 4.4% vs 3.0%, P = 0.027), and pneumonia (RR 1.751, 5.8% vs 3.3%, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Non-tobacco nicotine dependence increases postoperative complications for patients undergoing intramedullary nailing for intertrochanteric femur fractures. Our findings support the need for development of perioperative nicotine cessation guidelines for nontobacco nicotine users.

Level of evidence: Level III, Prognostic


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