Assessment of Military Beneficiaries and Veterans Taking Dietary Supplements at TAMC

Assessment of Military Beneficiaries and Veterans Taking Dietary Supplements at TAMC


Name: Tomás Eduardo Ceremuga

Rank: COL (ret)

Presenter/Poster: Poster

Year: 2019


It is estimated that up to 60% of patients in the U.S. use complementary and alternative medications (CAMs). CAMs, which include dietary supplements, can have many side effects and multiple interactions with perioperative medications, thus increasing surgical morbidity and mortality. Descriptive empirical data is basically nonexistent related to dietary supplement consumption and patient knowledge of dietary supplements. The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe the prevalence of use, type of supplements used, and the knowledge among military, beneficiaries, and Veterans consuming dietary supplements. This qualitative descriptive cross-sectional study voluntarily solicited data from 449 patients at Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Data pertaining to dietary supplement use was collected from preoperative patients using an electronic SurveyMonkey® assessment instrument during routine preanesthetic evaluations.

Data were statistically analyzed using frequency distributions for demographic data and chi-square for analyses between groups. Of the 449 subjects interviewed, 27.8% or 125 subjects (57 female and 68 males) reported taking at least one dietary supplement. The most frequently used supplement were multivitamins at 26.4% followed by fish oil/omega-3 fatty acids at 8.8%. Over 17% of the subjects cited dietary supplement use to “improve overall health” followed by 10.4% to correct “deficiencies”. Notably, we found that only 22.4% of patients were aware of any potential side effects and only 8% of patients were aware of any potential medication interactions from their supplement usage. This showed a significant knowledge gap in our patient population. This lack of understanding in this patient population could have deleterious effects on surgical outcomes and mission readiness. An increase in patient education is needed to inform the DS users and should be incorporated into the preoperative teaching provided by military healthcare facilities and TAMC. Further studies and educational programs are necessary to fully clarify the detriments, if any, to patient outcomes that may effect mission readiness.

4 keywords: Military, dietary supplements, perioperative, anesthesia