Study objectives: To determine whether distraction therapy with nature sights and sounds during flexible bronchoscopy (FB) reduces pain and anxiety.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Teaching hospital in Baltimore, MD.
Patients: Consecutive adult patients (n = 80) undergoing FB with conscious sedation.
Intervention: Nature scene murals were placed at the bedside, and patients were provided a tape of nature sounds to listen to before, during, and after the procedure. Patients assigned to the control group were not offered either the nature scene or the sounds.
Measurements and results: The primary outcomes were patient ratings of pain control (a 5-point scale ranging from poor to excellent) and anxiety. In a multivariate ordinal logistic regression model, the odds of better pain control were greater in the intervention patients than in the control patients (odds ratio [OR], 4.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.35 to 16.7), after adjustment for age, gender, race, education, health status, and dose of narcotic medication. Older patients and patients with better health status reported significantly less pain. There was no difference in patient-reported anxiety between the two groups (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.39 to 1.96).
Conclusions: Distraction therapy with nature sights and sounds significantly reduces pain in patients undergoing FB. Although the precise mechanism of this beneficial effect requires further investigation, clinicians should consider this nonintrusive strategy in addition to standard analgesic medications in patients undergoing painful, invasive procedures.