Marital Status and Postoperative Functional Recovery | Health Care Safety | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
February 2016

Marital Status and Postoperative Functional Recovery

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Surg. 2016;151(2):194-196. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.3240

Chances of survival after major surgery may be better among married vs unmarried persons,1,2 but little is known regarding the association between marital status and postoperative function. Characterizing the association between marital status and postoperative function may be useful for counseling patients and identifying at-risk groups that may benefit from targeted interventions aimed at improving functional recovery.

We used data from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study (http://hrsonline.isr.umich.edu), a longitudinal panel survey that has enrolled 29 053 adults 50 years of age or older since 1998. The Health and Retirement Study participants undergo interviews every 2 years regarding health, functioning, medical care, and family structure. We used data from the 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 waves of the Health and Retirement Study; our sample included surviving participants who reported having undergone cardiac surgery in the interval since the preceding interview and deceased participants for whom proxies reported a cardiac surgery since the last interview. This study was exempted from review by the University of Pennsylvania institutional review board. Participants in the Health and Retirement Study provided written informed consent at the time of enrollment.

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