Patients anxiety and fear of anesthesia: effect of gender, age, education, and previous experience of anesthesia. A survey of 400 patients
Journal of Anesthesia, 08/17/2012
Mavridou P et al – All patients, mostly women, express fears about anesthesia; this fear leads to preoperative anxiety. Slight differences are observed for some individual questions among patients of different sex, education level, and previous experience of anesthesia.Methods
- Questionnaires with fixed questions were distributed to consenting, consecutive surgical patients before the pre–anesthetic visit.
- The questionnaires included patients’ demographics and questions related to their fears about anesthesia.
- Four–hundred questionnaires were collected and analyzed.
- Eighty–one percent of patients experience preoperative anxiety.
- The main sources of their anxiety were fear of postoperative pain (84 %), of not waking up after surgery (64.8 %), of being nauseous or vomiting (60.2 %), and of drains and needles (59.5 %).
- Patients are less concerned about being paralyzed because of anesthesia (33.5 %) or of revealing personal issues (18.8 %).
- Gender seems to affect patients fears, with women being more afraid (85.3 vs. 75.6 % of men, p=0.014).
- The effects of patients’ age, level of education, and previous experience of anesthesia are minor, except for individual questions.
- Sixty–three percent of the patients (mostly women 67.4 vs. 57.4 % of men, p=0.039) talk about these fears with their relatives, although a vast majority of 95.5 % would prefer to talk with the anesthesiologist and be reassured by him.