Parental presence during induction of anesthesia: physiological effects on parents

Anesthesiology. 2003 Jan;98(1):58-64. doi: 10.1097/00000542-200301000-00013.


Background: The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial to determine whether parental presence during induction of anesthesia (PPIA) is associated with parental physiologic and behavioral manifestations of stress.

Methods: Children and their parents (N = 80) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) PPIA; (2) PPIA plus 0.5 mg/kg oral midazolam; and (3) control (no PPIA or midazolam). The effect of the group assignment on parental heart rate (HR), parental blood pressure, and parental skin conductance level (SCL) were assessed. Both parental HR and parental SCL were monitored continually. Anxiety of the parent and child was also assessed.

Results: Parental HR increased from baseline until the induction of anesthesia (P = 0.001). A group-by-time effect ( P= 0.005) was also found. That is, throughout the induction period there were several time points at which parents in the two PPIA groups had a significantly higher HR than did parents in the control group (P < 0.05). Similarly, SCL was found to increase in all parents from baseline until induction of anesthesia (P = 0.001). Significant group differences in SCL changes over time were found as well (P = 0.009). State anxiety and blood pressure following induction of anesthesia did not differ significantly between groups ( P= nonsignificant). Examination of parental Holter data revealed no rhythm abnormalities and no electrocardiogram changes indicating ischemia.

Conclusions: The authors found that PPIA is associated with increased parental HR and SCL. However, no increased incidence of electrocardiogram abnormalities were found in parents present during induction of anesthesia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Anesthesia, Inhalation / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, Inhalation / psychology*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety, Separation / psychology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Female
  • Galvanic Skin Response / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Psychological Tests
  • Sample Size