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Abstracts and Programme: EUROANAESTHESIA 2011: The European Anaesthesiology Congress: Evidence-based Practice and Quality Improvement

A survey of patient's anaesthetic concerns in the pre-assessment clinic


Denner, A. M.; Wee, M. Y.K.

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European Journal of Anaesthesiology: June 2011 - Volume 28 - Issue - p 19
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Background and Goal of Study: The reported incidence of pre-operative anxiety amongst patients ranges from 10-80%. Patient anxiety is complex and multifactorial and may have physiological, psychological and economic sequelae. The aim of our study was to investigate the frequency and severity of these anxieties and determine whether the anaesthetic pre-assessment clinic consultation reduces anxiety levels.

Materials and Methods: We distributed 100 questionnaires to patients from a wide variety of surgical specialities at the pre-assessment clinic and asked them to score their anxiety for six specific items both pre and post clinic consultation. The six items were: post-operative pain, post-operative vomiting, post-operative nausea, not waking up after the operation, waking up during the operation and having a needle/“drip”. We also gave patients the opportunity to express any other concerns they may have and asked them some supplementary questions.

Results and Discussion: A statistically significant reduction in anxiety scores was demonstrated in five of the six categories (pre compared with post clinic anxiety scores, p< 0.001). 87.5% of patients saw a nurse in the pre-assessment clinic. Only 10.2% of patients expressed a desire to see an anesthetist at the pre-assessment clinic.

The literature shows that anxiety may render patients vulnerable to an increased risk of post-operative nausea and vomiting and an increased perception of post-operative pain. This is turn may lead to delayed discharges and an increased rate of unexpected overnight stays (in day-case patients). Conclusion(s): Our study has demonstrated that patient anxiety can be modified by the pre-assessment clinic consultation and that specially trained preassessment clinic nurses are effective in this role.

© 2011 European Society of Anaesthesiology