Guided imagery in cardiac surgery

Outcomes Manag. Jul-Sep 2002;6(3):132-7.


Clinical research has demonstrated that guided imagery, a simple form of relaxation, can reduce preoperative anxiety and postoperative pain among patients undergoing surgical procedures. In 1998, the cardiac surgery team implemented a guided imagery program to compare cardiac surgical outcomes between two groups of patients: with and without guided imagery. Data from the hospital financial cost/accounting database and patient satisfaction data were collected and matched to the two groups of patients. A questionnaire was developed to assess the benefits of the guided imagery program to those who elected to participate in it. Patients who completed the guided imagery program had a shorter average length of stay, a decrease in average direct pharmacy costs, and a decrease in average direct pain medication costs while maintaining high overall patient satisfaction with the care and treatment provided. Guided imagery is now considered a complementary means to reduce anxiety, pain, and length of stay among our cardiac surgery patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / economics
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / psychology
  • Cost Control
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospital Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy / methods
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy / standards*
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Total Quality Management / organization & administration*
  • Virginia