Preoperative videos help to cut patient anxiety

Surgery patients at the Mayo Clinic in Florida who watched a series of internally developed pre-operation educational videos felt less anxious than those who did not, according to a study published in the Interactive Journal of Medical Research.

The effort focused on educating patients set to undergo hip and knee replacements about their forthcoming hospital experience in a manner complementary to face-to-face consultations. High anxiety, the authors said, has been linked to increased and sustained pain levels for patients following joint replacement operations.

Similar research presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Munich last month found that surgical patients who used a tablet computer to view a pre-operation video narrated by a doctor about their procedure reported they had a better idea of what to expect. While the authors of that study noted that a most patients preferred the video to an in-person consultation, they also said that use of portable video media should not replace consent.

Of 53 patients who participated in the Mayo Clinic study, 28 went through standard pre-operational efforts via in-person visits and handouts, while 25 went through standard education in addition to watching the videos. All patients took surveys measuring their anxiety both during a preoperative clinic visit and again on the morning of the surgery.

Patients who viewed the videos had slightly less anxiety than those who did not, according to the results of the second survey, although the authors noted that due to the small participation numbers, none of the results achieved statistical significance.

Still, they said, as surgeons and their support staff are urged to see a higher volume of patients, and thus left with little time for patient education, tools such as video will be increasingly important.

"Our early experience supplementing traditional preoperative education with a series of online YouTube videos that highlight the surgical and hospital experience was well received by our patients," the authors said.

To learn more:
- read the Interactive Journal of Medical Research study