Surprising new research has found that heart patients who have particular types of surgery during a waning full moon have higher survival odds and spend less time in the hospital.
Medical investigators at Rhode Island Hospital have determined the lunar cycle can influence cardiac-surgery success, particularly for patients undergoing a procedure known as aortic dissection.
The finding, contained in a new study published online in the journal Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, suggests heart patients might at least try to schedule their surgery around the phases of the moon to reduce their odds of death and boost their recovery.
"While there has been previous research of seasonal impacts on cardiovascular disease, there has not been any data about the effect of the lunar cycles on cardiac cases, until now," said Frank Sellke, M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery and co-director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals.
"We focused the study on patients having aortic dissection and found that the odds of dying following this procedure were greatly reduced during the waning full moon, and that length of stay was also reduced during the full moon."
For the research, investigators examined the relationship of lunar cycles and seasonal variation on two types of surgical groups — those undergoing repair of ascending aortic dissection those having aortic dissection and either aortic valve surgery, coronary bypass surgery, or both.
The results showed patients who underwent aortic dissection performed during the full moon phase had a significantly shorter length of stay than two other moon phases —10 days for the full moon cycle vs. 14 days for the other phases.
The researchers offered no explanation for their findings, but suggested they are worth considering when scheduling surgery for some heart patients.
"Can we always plan for such procedures to be performed around lunar cycles? Of course not," Sellke said. "But better understanding the effects of the environment — including seasonal and lunar cycles — on our health can help us to better understand these rhythms, and ultimately provide better care for our patients."
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