The effect of a sweet potato, footbath, and acupressure intervention in preventing constipation in hospitalized patients with acute coronary syndromes

Gastroenterol Nurs. 2012 Jul-Aug;35(4):271-7. doi: 10.1097/SGA.0b013e31825ed7bc.


Constipation is a common health problem that adversely affects quality of life and the prognosis of hospitalized patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). The purpose of this study was to develop and test the sweet potato/footbath/acupressure massage (SFA) intervention as a safe treatment for prevention of constipation and to increase satisfaction with bowel emptying in hospitalized patients with ACS. The study was a prospective, randomized controlled trial with a sample of 93 patients (SFA group, n = 44; usual care group, n = 49). Patients in the SFA group received SFA intervention combined with usual care. The results showed that there were statistical differences between the two groups in terms of (1) the incidence of constipation; (2) the use of laxatives and enemas; (3) patients' subjective satisfaction with their bowel emptying during hospitalization; and (4) sensation of incomplete evacuation and anorectal obstruction/blockade. The SFA intervention was more effective, economical, and practical than usual care alone in managing constipation and satisfaction with defecation in patients hospitalized with ACS.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / complications
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / nursing*
  • China
  • Constipation / etiology
  • Constipation / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Foot / blood supply
  • Humans
  • Hydrotherapy*
  • Ipomoea batatas*
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction