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Intervention Cuts Preoperative Anxiety in Young Children

Child Life preparation versus usual care reduces child anxiety in OR prior to IV induction of anesthesia

a child girl patient

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Among children undergoing elective day surgery, a brief, targeted Child Life preparation (CLP) intervention reduces preoperative anxiety prior to intravenous induction of anesthesia, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in Pediatric Anesthesia.

Nicholas West, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues enrolled children aged 3 to 10 years undergoing elective day surgery lasting no more than two hours in a randomized trial. Fifty-nine children were randomly assigned to either the CLP intervention group (minimum 15 minutes CLP), which included role-play, expectation setting, and teaching coping strategies, or the control arm (standard practice without CLP) before intravenous induction of anesthesia.

The researchers found higher operating room anxiety from baseline for 52 and 21 percent of children in the control and CLP groups, respectively. There was a significant effect of baseline modified Yale Preoperative Anxiety Scale-Short Form anxiety and group on operating room anxiety. Operating room anxiety was significantly reduced by CLP by 13.8 points compared with control.

"A brief, targeted CLP session had a statistically significant effect on reducing preoperative anxiety prior to intravenous induction of anesthesia in young children with no known preexisting anxiety," the authors write. "This effect may be clinically important and suggests that Child Life can be a valuable component of pediatric surgical care. Further research is required in specific populations."

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