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Foot Ankle Int. 2004 Oct;25(10):756-62.

Informed consent for ankle fracture surgery: patient comprehension of verbal and videotaped information.

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  • 1Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, 820 N. Chelan Avenue, Wenatchee, WA 98801, USA.



The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of using a videotape to give patients information about the risks, benefits, alternatives, and treatment of a common orthopaedic procedure before they sign consent forms.


During a 9-month period, 48 patients with isolated closed ankle fractures requiring surgical intervention were randomized into two groups that received either videotaped or conventional verbal information regarding consent for surgery. The study group watched a videotape containing information about the risks, benefits, and treatment alternatives, while the control group obtained this information verbally. To determine comprehension and retention, all patients completed a multiple-choice questionnaire immediately after receiving the information, and 37 patients (77%) were available to complete a questionnaire at an average of 10 weeks later.


The videotape group outperformed the verbal consent group by 40.1% on the initial questionnaire (p = .0002) and by 27.2% on the followup questionnaire (p = 0.0139). Patients with educational levels of less than or equal to the 12th grade performed 67.8% better on the initial questionnaire after watching the video than after receiving the information verbally. (p = .0001).


Patients who received information about their surgery on a videotape before giving their consent demonstrated a significant increase in comprehension compared to patients who received this information verbally. The benefit was even greater for patients with lower education levels.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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