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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2005 Sep;28(3):407-14.

Extended written pre-operative information about possible complications at cardiac surgery--do the patients want to know?

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University Hospital of Lund, SE-21 85 Lund, Sweden.



It is important that patients for whom cardiac surgery is planned are supplied with structured oral and written information regarding their disease and its treatment, so that they can understand and discuss the coming operation and the risk of complications. The aim was to describe patients' experiences of information regarding possible complications related to cardiac surgery, both before and after the operation. A comparison was made between patients who received detailed written information (intervention group) regarding possible complications and patients who received conventional information (control group).


One hundred eighty-two patients were included in the intervention group and 156 in the control group. Questionnaires were distributed and experiences, anxiety and depression (the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS), and avoidance or intrusion distress (the Impact of Event Scale, IES) were measured before and 8 weeks after the surgery.


Seventy-two percent of the intervention group and 69% of the control group wanted information about both common and rare complications. Patients in the intervention group were significantly more satisfied with all aspects of the information compared to the control group both pre- and post-operatively. There were no significant differences between the groups for either the HADS or the IES.


Most, but not all, patients in the present study were positive to the extended written detailed information about risk of complications in connection with cardiac surgery. Detailed information can be a useful base for fruitful conversations between the health care personnel and the patients. The patients and their next of kin are informed, and better prepared if complications occur.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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