Decision Aid for Cigarette Smokers Scheduled for Elective Surgery Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Decision aids can increase patient involvement in decision-making about health care. The study goal was to develop and test a decision aid for use by clinicians in discussion options for changing smoking behavior before and after elective surgery. METHODS: In formative work, a decision aid was designed to facilitate patient-clinician discussion regarding three options: continue smoking, attempt a period of temporary abstinence, and attempt to quit smoking for good. A randomized, two-group pilot study was then conducted in smokers evaluated in preparation for elective surgery in a preoperative clinic to test the hypothesis that the decision aid would improve measures of decisional quality compared with usual care. RESULTS: The final decision aid consisted of three laminated cards. The front of each card included a colorful graphic describing each choice; the reverse including two to three pros and cons for each decision, a simple graphic illustrating the effects of smoking on the body, and a motivational phrase. In the randomized trial of 130 patients, the decision aid significantly (P < 0.05) improved measures of decisional quality and patient involvement in decision making (Cohen's d effect sizes of 0.76 and 1.20 for the Decisional Conflict Scale and Observing PatienT involvement In decisiON-making scale, respectively). However, the decision aid did not affect any aspect of perioperative smoking behavior, including the distribution of or adherence to choices. CONCLUSIONS: Although the use of a decision aid to facilitate clinician-patient discussions regarding tobacco use around the time of surgery substantially improved measures of decisional quality, it alone did not change perioperative tobacco use behavior.


  • Warner, David O
  • LeBlanc, Annie
  • Kadimpati, Sandeep
  • Vickers, Kristin S
  • Shi, Yu
  • Montori, Victor

publication date

  • July 2015