Preoperative education interventions to reduce anxiety and improve recovery among cardiac surgery patients: a review of randomised controlled trials

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Aims and objectives: To update evidence of the effectiveness of preoperative education among cardiac surgery patients. Background: Patients awaiting cardiac surgery may experience high levels of anxiety and depression, which can adversely affect their existing disease and surgery and result in prolonged recovery. There is evidence that preoperative education interventions can lead to improved patient experiences and positive postoperative outcomes among a mix of general surgical patients. However, a previous review suggested limited evidence to support the positive impact of preoperative education on patients’ recovery from cardiac surgery. Design: Comprehensive review of the literature. Methods: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE and Web of Science were searched for English-language articles published between 2000–2011. Original articles were included reporting randomised controlled trials of cardiac preoperative education interventions. Results: Six trials were identified and have produced conflicting findings. Some trials have demonstrated the effects of preoperative education on improving physical and psychosocial recovery of cardiac patients, while others found no evidence that patients’ anxiety is reduced or of any effect on pain or hospital stay. Conclusion: Evidence of the effectiveness of preoperative education interventions among cardiac surgery patients remains inconclusive. Further research is needed to evaluate cardiac preoperative education interventions for sustained effect and in non-Western countries. Relevance to clinical practice: A nurse-coordinated multidisciplinary preoperative education approach may offer a way forward to provide a more effective and efficient service. Staff training in developing and delivering such interventions is a priority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number1-2
Early online date3 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • anxiety
  • cardiac surgery
  • nursing intervention
  • preoperative education
  • recovery


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