A recent study has shown that married folks have an easier time recovering from surgery than single or widowed people do.
Recovering from surgery can go a lot better if you have someone there with you, a new study suggests. According to a report from ABC News, researchers from the University of Michigan published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found married patients had a much speedier recovery time than their single counterparts.
The study examined 1,576 adults over the age of 50 who had received serious cardiac surgery, and followed their progress with the healing process, comparing their marital status to their overall recovery time.
The study found that patients who had a spouse to go home to recovered much faster than people who weren’t married. People who were not married were found to have a 40 percent higher chance of death or developing a disability within the two-year period following the surgery.
According to Dr. Ashish Shah, the head of heart transplantation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the study echoes earlier findings that showed how much better married patients recover from surgery compared to unmarried people.
Shah said that the key for leveling the playing field between married and unmarried patients is to figure out exactly what married patients receive in terms of care and support following their surgery, and determine a way to make this available for all patients regardless of marital status. Shah was not involved in the University of Michigan study.
“There’s always been the feeling that people who have a person that is supporting them tend to do better,” Shah said. “Most heart surgeons would agree that emotional stressors will complicate operations.” Surgeons are becoming increasingly interested in the ways they can help their patients recover after a surgery, and not just making sure that it goes as smoothly as possible on the operating table.
“Most experienced heart surgeons will say, ‘Who’s at home with you and how is their health?’” Shah said. “It may be as simple as being supported… if you have a good friend of parent. I certainly don’t think that this says don’t get divorced… in case you have heart surgery.”
While marriage in particular may not have anything to do with heart surgery recovery times, having someone around who can look after you and spend time with you while you recover can make all the difference in the world.
A press release from the University of Michigan detailing the study’s findings can be found here.