College of Osteopathic Medicine Faculty Articles

Title

Effects of psychophysical stress on surgical outcome

ISBN or ISSN

0033-3174

Publication Title

Psychosomatic Medicine

Volume

50

Issue

3

Publication Date / Copyright Date

5-1-1988

First Page

230

Last Page

244

Abstract

The aim was to determine the effects of stress on immune status and surgical outcome in 24 healthy men undergoing hernia repair. Stressful life events over the prior 6 mo and social support was assessed at time of admission. Physiological response to a cold pressor test was measured the day before surgery. Lymphocyte blastogenesis and neutrophil chemotaxis were measured before and 3 and 30 days after surgery in patients and controls. Surgical outcomes were assessed by length of stay, narcotics used, and complications. Data were analyzed in 2 x 2 factorial designs for multivariate analysis of covariance where one factor was life stress and the other was response to the cold pressor. Age and social support were covaried in comparing immune responses before surgery. High responders to life stress had significantly less response to PHA, and high responders to cold pressor stress had lower PWM responses. With preoperative immune status covaried, high responders to cold pressor stress had significantly lower PWM response after surgery, indicating some T-B cell interaction defect and more narcotics and complications. Data suggest that high psychological and physiological stress responses before surgery (that is itself an additional psychophysiologic stressor) lead to poorer outcomes even in otherwise healthy men undergoing relatively simple elective surgical procedures.

Disciplines

Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences | Osteopathic Medicine and Osteopathy

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