Background and Goal of Study: Transcendence of the fear of anesthesia on the efficiency of postoperative care is still undetermined. We explored fear associated with anesthesia, and to establish which variables propitiate fear reactions.
Materials and Methods: A simple prospective design was used. The core variable was a repertory of fears associated with anesthesia, along with generic, socio-demographic and other factors.
The study was carried out in the Dr. Negrin University Hospital on patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy under intravenous anesthesia. The results were from only one group with only one measurement after the intervention (n=162). The fear of anesthesia scale (FAS) was used, created and validated by the investigative team, with Crombach alpha + 0.97). The FAS was given to the patients the day after the operation. Before carrying out this study, we obtained both ethics committee approval and informed consent of patients.
Results and Discussion: Age and anthropometric characteristics were not significant. Non-relevant factors were sex (t(160)=1.13; p=0.26), and patient education level (F(3, 157)=0.74; p=0.52).
Urban vs rural dwelling and family situation were also not significant. Employment status as a factor was not conclusive (F(5,155)=0.43; p=0.82), and previous experience in surgery had no impact on fear (t(160)=0.10; p=0.92). However, if there had been complications in a previous surgery, we found a marginally significant difference (t(124)=1.76; p=0.08).
An upsetting memory of a previous experience was initially related to fear of anesthesia (t(124)=2.09; p=0.03).
Finally, we analyzed if the hospitalization process within the last 3 years had an influence on fear of anesthesia. This information served equally well for our purposes, whether the experience of the patient had been acquired when admitted himself or accompanying a member of his family. The experience of having been admitted in a period of time relatively close to the operation constitutes a relevant factor in fear of anesthesia (t(160)=5.70; p=0.001). The most representative fears of anesthesia were complications after surgery, pain after surgery and failure to awake after surgery.
Conclusion(s): We have described the most prevalent fears concerning anesthesia, and localized the indicators of a profile of fear of anesthesia in patients with previous experiences, when associated with complications, upsetting experiences or recent admission to the hospital.