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Outcomes Manag. 2002 Jul-Sep;6(3):132-7.

Guided imagery in cardiac surgery.

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Inova Heart Center, Inova Fairfax Hospital, 3300 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA 22042, USA.


Clinical research has demonstrated that guided imagery, a simple form of relaxation, can reduce preoperative anxiety and postoperative pain among patients undergoing surgical procedures. In 1998, the cardiac surgery team implemented a guided imagery program to compare cardiac surgical outcomes between two groups of patients: with and without guided imagery. Data from the hospital financial cost/accounting database and patient satisfaction data were collected and matched to the two groups of patients. A questionnaire was developed to assess the benefits of the guided imagery program to those who elected to participate in it. Patients who completed the guided imagery program had a shorter average length of stay, a decrease in average direct pharmacy costs, and a decrease in average direct pain medication costs while maintaining high overall patient satisfaction with the care and treatment provided. Guided imagery is now considered a complementary means to reduce anxiety, pain, and length of stay among our cardiac surgery patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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