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Paediatr Anaesth. 2000;10(5):477-86.

Preoperative psychological preparation for children undergoing ENT operations: a comparison of two methods.

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


A psychological preparation programme was developed for outpatient surgery in children. The purpose of this study was to determine if the programme could increase retrieval of information and reduce anxiety prior to ENT surgery. After ethical committee approval, 160 children and their parents were included. Eighty children (group 1) received conventional verbal information from an ENT nurse, and another 80 children (group 2) received specific information, including role-play, from a nurse anaesthetist at a preadmission visit. Children's and parents' experience of premedication, operation theatre (OR), i.v.-needle insertion and induction of anaesthesia were evaluated from a self-rating questionnaire. The questionnaire included ratings for anxiety and satisfaction with information and care. The results indicate a clear improvement of the preoperative acquisition of knowledge in all age groups. When it comes to alleviation of fear, a positive effect of the preparation programme was noticed, especially among the younger children (< 5 years), while preoperative anxiety overall was a significantly smaller problem among the older children. The effects of the programme were also related to previous experience of anaesthesia and most beneficial among young children with such experience. Overall, the most negative procedure reported by the children was the i.m. injection for premedication (a routine which was abandoned as a result of the study), followed by the insertion of the i.v. -needle. The parents experienced watching their child fall asleep during induction of anaesthesia as most negative, followed by the insertion of the i.v.-needle. Parents also reported more satisfaction and less anxiety after having received specific information and preparation preoperatively. It was concluded that this preoperative preparation programme is useful in all age groups with regard to information, while alleviation of anxiety and fear was seen mainly among the younger children with previous experience of anaesthesia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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