iPads are Being Used to Treat Anxiety

iPads are just as effective at lowering a child’s anxiety levels before surgery than traditional sedatives, a study presented at the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists has revealed.

Prior to surgery that requires general anaesthesia, the study found that the use of mobile interactive devices helps to distract, and subsequently relax, patients just as much as the sedative midazolam.

Lead researcher Dr Dominique Chassard, EPICIME, Hopital Mere Enfant, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Bron, France, also reported higher parental satisfaction and quality of anaesthesia induction when iPads were substituted for sedatives.

“Our study showed that child and parental anxiety before anaesthesia are equally blunted by midazolam or use of the iPad,” Professor Chassard said. “However, the quality of induction of anaesthesia, as well as parental satisfaction, were judged better in the iPad group.”

How the Study Worked

A group of 112 children waiting for surgery that required general anaesthesia were randomly split into two groups. The first group received a standard dose of Midazolam while children in the second group each received iPads.

Then two independent psychologists measured the patient’s anxiety at four time points using an agreed scale.

Time Points

  1. Hospital Arrival
  2. Separation from parents
  3. During induction
  4. Inside the post anaesthesia care unit (PACU)

The same time points were used to measure parental anxiety, apart from the induction time period when they weren’t present.

The quality of anaesthesia induction was measured with a simple 0-10 questionnaire given to the anaesthetic nurses. Parents were also asked to rate their satisfaction with the anaesthesia procedure from 0 to 10.

Final Anxiety Test

Half an hour after a final dose of anaesthetic, or after 45 minutes in the PACU, the children were moved into the ambulatory surgery ward where their anxiety levels were tested again. Parents were also assessed at this time.

Child and parental anxiety levels were again mirrored in both groups. Anaesthesia induction quality, though, was reported as better in the iPad group by both nurses and parents.

These results further compounded the benefits of using iPads and other interactive devices instead of conventional sedatives.

The use of interactive devices within the medical profession is growing all of the time. And, with these kinds of results cropping up again and again, it’s of little surprise.

Author;  Ryan Child

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