Purpose: To evaluate the effects of hand massage on patient anxiety during cataract surgery.
Setting: Kangnam St. Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Methods: This study comprised 59 patients having cataract surgery from December 11, 1996, to February 12, 1997. The patients were divided into those having a hand massage 5 minutes before surgery (experimental group, n = 29) and those not receiving a hand massage (control group, n = 30). Patients' anxiety levels were measured using the Visual Analog Scale and by assessing the systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and pulse rate before and after the hand massage and 5 minutes before the end of surgery. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, blood sugar levels, neutrophil, and lymphocyte percentages in white blood cells were also measured.
Results: After the hand massage, the psychological anxiety levels, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and pulse rate were significantly lower than before the massage. The hand massage significantly decreased epinephrine and norepinephrine levels in the experimental group. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol levels increased in the control group. The differences between groups were significant. There were no significant between-group differences in blood sugar levels or neutrophil and lymphocyte percentages in white blood cells.
Conclusion: The findings indicate that hand massage decreases the psychological and physiological anxiety levels in patients having cataract surgery under local anesthesia.