Home Health Survival chances after major surgery may be better among married vs unmarried

Survival chances after major surgery may be better among married vs unmarried


According to a study published in the journal JAMA Surgery on October 28, married individuals might be more likely to survive heart surgeries compared to the ones who are widowed, divorced or separated. The study has been conducted by researchers representing the University of Pennsylvania.

During the study, researchers checked the survival rates and health of 1,576 adults aged 50 or more. Each of those individuals underwent heart surgery. It was found that the ones who were widowed, divorced or separated were at 40% greater risk of developing a new disability (for instance, inability to walk) or dying within the first couple of years following the surgery compared to the married individuals.

These new findings indicate that marital status of a person is a forecaster of his or her functional recovery and survival following a cardiac surgery.

The study’s participants were interviewed by the researchers four times between the years 2004 and 2010. They were questioned about their day-to-day activities, medical care, family structure and health.


Among the participants, 65% were married, 21% were widowed, 12% were separated or divorced, and 2% had never been married. It was found that 19% of the married individuals either developed a fresh disability or died during the first couple of years following the surgery. The share grew respectively to 34% and 29% among widowed participants and separated or divorced participants.

The researchers also found that 20% of the individuals who had never married either developed a fresh disability or died during the first two years following their heart surgery.

The findings mentioned above are in line with an earlier research that showed that survival rates after heart surgery might be greater among married individuals.


Scientists, however, have not yet been able to point out the reason why married individuals have higher chances of surviving after a heart surgery. However, they said that factors like additional care and support offered by spouses might be responsible. Other studies have shown that social support is important for having a healthy heart, and social isolation is a risk factor for cardiac disorders.

More research will have to be conducted for determining the mechanisms that explain the association between an individual’s chances of surviving after a major operation and his or her marital status.

SOURCEJama Surgery
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