Year : 2016  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 317-321

Fear of going under general anesthesia: A cross-sectional study

1 Departement of Anesthesia, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Ministry of National Guard, Health Affairs (NGHA), Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
A A Alshehri
Departement of Anesthesia, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2925, Riyadh 11461
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1658-354X.179094

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Objectives: Fears related to anesthesia have affected a considerable number of patients going for surgery. The purpose of this survey was to identify the most common concerns about general anesthesia during the preoperative anesthetic clinic in different healthcare settings, and whether they are affected by patients' sex, age, education, or previous experience of anesthesia or not. Materials and Methods: Structured questionnaires with consent forms were distributed to patients in their preanesthesia clinic visit in three tertiary hospitals (King Abdul-Aziz Medical City, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, and King Khalid University Hospital) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Patients' demographics and questions related to their fears regarding general anesthesia were included in the questionnaires. All categorical and interval variables were compared statically using a Chi-square test for independence and a t-test, respectively. All statistical tests were declared significant at α level of 0.05 or less. Results: Among 450 questionnaires that were disturbed, 400 questionnaires were collected and analyzed. Eighty-eight percent experienced preoperative fear. The top three causes of their fears were fear of postoperative pain (77.3%), fear of intraoperative awareness (73.7%), and fear of being sleepy postoperatively (69.5%). Patients are less fearful of drains and needles in the operative theater (48%), of revealing personal issues under general anesthesia (55.2%), and of not waking up after surgery (56.4%). Age and gender were significant predictors of the overall fear among preanesthetic patients. Females are 5 times more likely to experience fear before surgery (P = 0.0009). Patients aged more than 40 years old are also at 75% higher risk of being afraid (P = 0.008). Conclusion: The majority of the patients going for surgery experienced a fear of anesthesia. Mostly females, especially those over 40, were at a higher risk of being afraid. Fear can bring anxiety which, in turn, might affect the patient's surgery.

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