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Anaesthesia. 1994 May;49(5):382-6.

Effects of background stress and anxiety on postoperative recovery.

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Department of Anaesthesia, United Medical School, Guy's Hospital, London.


The effects of background stress and anxiety on both short- and long-term recovery were measured in 30 healthy patients undergoing general anaesthesia for day-case dental extractions. Standardised questionnaires presented pre-operatively, assessed psychological status in terms of trait and state anxiety and stress levels. State anxiety was again measured postoperatively; recovery was assessed with pre- and postoperative batteries of cognitive tasks. Correlation coefficients revealed that the level of background stress in the preceding 6 months correlated with physical parameters of recovery such as time taken for patients to open their eyes, perceived pain and increased postoperative morbidity. The study also demonstrated that high levels of state anxiety after surgery correlated with postoperative pain. Trait and state anxiety before surgery did not correlate with any parameters of recovery or postoperative morbidity.

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