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Informed Consent Doesn't Change Choice to Have Cataract Surgery

Patients aren't influenced by explanation of risks of procedure, study finds

TUESDAY, Jan. 13, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Explaining the risks of cataract surgery as part of an informed consent procedure a day before surgery doesn't seem to influence patients' decisions to have the surgery.

So says an Austrian study in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

The study included 70 people, with an average age of 70, about to undergo cataract surgery. On the day before the surgery, the patients received a standardized informed consent procedure. They also answered 15 questions developed by clinical psychologists, lawyers and ophthalmologists.

Of the 70 patients, 16 (23 percent) who arrived for surgery believed there were surgical procedures without any risks; and 53 (76 percent) believed there were no risks for their cataract surgery.

The study found that 31 patients (44 percent) said they preferred that their doctor make the decision for surgery, while 16 patients (26 percent) said they wanted to make the decision together with their ophthalmologist.

It also found the risk of a complication that could compromise sight didn't influence the decisions of 54 patients (77 percent) to go ahead with the surgery, and 55 patients (78 percent) said they weren't influenced by the informed consent procedure.

Fifteen of the patients (22 percent) said the informed consent process helped confirm their decision to go ahead with the cataract surgery.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about informed consent.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Jan. 12, 2004
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