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Abdominal surgery, pain and anxiety: preoperative nursing intervention


  • Li-Ying Lin MSN RN,

  • Ruey-Hsia Wang PhD RN

Ruey-Hsia Wang,
College of Nursing,
Kaohsiung Medical University,
No. 100,
Shih-Chuan 1st Road,
Kaohsiung City,
Taiwan 807.


Aim.  This paper reports a study examining the effects of preoperative nursing intervention for pain on abdominal surgery preoperative anxiety and attitude to pain, and postoperative pain.

Method.  In a randomized controlled study conducted between January and August 2001, patients undergoing abdominal surgery in a medical center in southern Taiwan were randomly assigned to an experimental (n = 32) or control group (n = 30). The experimental group received routine care and preoperative nursing intervention for pain, while the control group received routine care only. A structured questionnaire including an anxiety scale, pain attitude scale, and Brief Pain Inventory was used to assess the results.

Results.  Participants in the experimental group experienced a significant decrease in preoperative anxiety and a significant improvement in preoperative pain attitude. They also had statistically significantly lower postoperative pain intensity for 4 hours after surgery and lower highest pain intensity within the first 24 hours after surgery. Perceived pain interference during position changes, deep breathing/coughing, and moments of emotion in the experimental group was statistically significantly lower than that of the control group in the same situations. The experimental group also started out-of-bed activities 1·5 days earlier.

Conclusion.  Preoperative nursing intervention for pain has positive effects for patients undergoing abdominal surgery. The intervention used in this study could serve as a guide for nurses to improve the pain care of these patients.

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