Aim. This paper reports on a study which aimed to evaluate the effects of structured written preoperative information on patients’ postoperative psychological and physical wellbeing after surgery for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
Background. The possible benefits of current booklets written by professionals on postoperative psychological and physical wellbeing in patients with AAA are unknown. Previous studies have shown that preoperative information has a favourable effect on both mood state and physical mobilization.
Method. Fifty-two patients admitted for elective repair of AAA were selected consecutively and randomized to receive only verbal (control group), or verbal and written information in booklet form (experimental group). The booklet contained procedural and sensory information about the disease and its treatment. Two questionnaires were used to establish whether the booklet had any effect on perceived health, psychological and physical wellbeing postoperatively.
Results. The two groups were similar regarding their perceived health but differed significantly regarding psychological wellbeing pre- and postoperatively. Patients in the experimental group were significantly sadder both pre- and postoperatively compared with those in the control group. Both groups were similar in postoperative physical wellbeing.
Conclusion. This group of patients often has asymptomatic disease, with a short interval between diagnosis and major surgery. When patients receive an information booklet during this period, this seems to cause more worries than anticipated. Hence, a more supportive educational programme might benefit this patient group, both pre- and postoperatively.