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J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino). 1997 Feb;38(1):69-75.

Self-hypnosis reduces anxiety following coronary artery bypass surgery. A prospective, randomized trial.

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Department of Surgery, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.



The role of complementary medicine techniques has generated increasing interest in today's society. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effects of one technique, self-hypnosis, and its role in coronary artery bypass surgery. We hypotesize that self-hypnosis relaxation techniques will have a positive effect on the patient's mental and physical condition following coronary artery bypass surgery.


A prospective, randomized trial was conducted. Patients were followed beginning one day prior to surgery until the time of discharge from the hospital.


The study was conducted at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, a large tertiary care teaching institution.


All patients undergoing first-time elective coronary artery bypass surgery were eligible. A total of 32 patients were randomized into two groups.


The study group was taught self-hypnosis relaxation techniques preoperatively, with no therapy in the control group.


Outcome variables studied included anesthetic requirements, operative parameters, postoperative pain medication requirements, quality of life, hospital stay, major morbidity and mortality.


Patients who were taught self-hypnosis relaxation techniques were significantly more relaxed postoperatively compared to the control group (p=0.032). Pain medication requirements were also significantly less in patients practising the self-hypnosis relaxation techniques that those who were noncompliant (p=0.046). No differences were noted in intraoperative parameters, morbidity or mortality.


This study demonstrates the beneficial effects self-hypnosis relaxation techniques on patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. It also provides a framework to study complementary techniques and the limitations encountered.

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