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The Effect of Anesthetic Patient Education on Preoperative Patient Anxiety
  1. Lois R. Bondy, B.S.,
  2. Norine Sims, B.A.,
  3. Darrell R. Schroeder, M.S.,
  4. Kenneth P. Offord, M.S. and
  5. Bradly J. Narr, M.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesiology and Section of Biostatistics, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, Minnesota.
  1. Reprint requests: Bradly J. Narr, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905.


Background and Objectives. Preoperative time spent with patients has been abbreviated with the advent of same-day admission requirements and outpatient surgery. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects that materials mailed to the home relating to anesthetic-focused patient education may have on preoperative patient anxiety.

Methods. Patients scheduled for a total hip arthroplasty or for a total knee arthroplasty were screened via telephone for inclusion in a prospective, randomized study. Patients were asked about their access to a video cassette recorder/player (VCR) and their limitations regarding hearing or vision. Subjects were randomly assigned to either the intervention group and received two pamphlets and a video describing general and regional anesthesia or to the usual care group. All subjects were mailed a preoperative demographic questionnaire and a State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), as developed by CD Spielberger (1). Questionnaires were completed at least 96 hours prior to admission and again preoperative on the day of surgery.

Results. Of 236 patients screened, 26 had no access to a VCR, 6 were hearing or visually impaired, and 4 declined participation. Of 200 subjects randomized, 134 completed both sets of questionnaires and thus form the basis of this report. A statistically significant difference between the subjects who received the video and pamphlets and the usual care subjects was detected with respect to change in STAI-assessed anxiety from baseline to immediately prior to surgery (P = .035). The intervention subjects experienced a smaller mean increase in anxiety. Forty-nine percent of the usual care subjects expressed interest in having additional information.

Conclusions. Increase in preoperative anxiety is diminished when additional anesthesia information in printed and video format is made available. Useful information can be provided to patients to view or read prior to surgery.

  • preoperative anxiety
  • anesthetic patient education
  • total knee/hip arthroplasty.

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  • Pamphlets and videos were produced by ASRA and made possible by an educational grant from ASTRA, USA.