Relaxation Technique Reduces Patient Anxiety Before Surgery

Relaxation Technique Reduces Patient Anxiety Before Surgery

Elvira V. Lang

(85th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America) The use of hypnotic relaxation techniques before some medical procedures reduced patients’ anxiety and pain during the procedures, decreased procedure time and cost, and, in nearly one half of the cases, eliminated the need for conscious sedation altogether. These were the findings of a study of 161 patients undergoing angiography, angioplasty or kidney drainage. The relaxation technique involved a specially trained nurse or team member reading a script telling the patient to close and relax their eyes, take deep breaths, feel a sensation of floating and go to a safe and comfortable place. The patients were given a bell to ring at any point during the procedure if they felt the need for more anesthesia. All of the patients were offered conscious sedation (a mixture of antipain and antianxiety medication). Fourteen of the 79 patients (18 percent) who did not undergo relaxation techniques requested no sedation, compared with 38 of the 82 patients (46 percent) who underwent relaxation techniques. Replacing or supplementing anesthesia with the relaxation techniques reduced the average procedure time by 17 minutes (20 percent of total procedure time) and reduced the average procedure cost by $130 per patient. This reduction in cost was primarily the result of fewer interruptions during the procedures, and avoiding over- or undersedation that usually results in the patient being admitted to the hospital overnight instead of being released within a few hours of the procedure.–ELVIRA V. LANG, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

COPYRIGHT 2000 American Academy of Family Physicians

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