ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Patients express high anxiety preoperatively, because of fears related to anesthesia and its implications. The purpose of this survey was to gain insight into these fears and to study whether they are affected by patients' sex, age, education, or 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. RESULTS: 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 our 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. CONCLUSION: 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.
Journal of Anesthesia 08/2012; · 0.83 Impact Factor