Efficacy of an Ice Popsicle on Thirst Management in the Immediate Postoperative Period: A Randomized Clinical Trial

J Perianesth Nurs. 2018 Apr;33(2):153-161. doi: 10.1016/j.jopan.2016.03.009. Epub 2017 Mar 21.


Purpose: Perioperative thirst is an intense discomfort with high incidence in the immediate postoperative period, but nonetheless, it is highly neglected in clinical practice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of an ice popsicle compared with water at room temperature for thirst relief in the immediate postoperative period in terms of variation in the intensity of the initial compared with the final thirst and the satiety reached after an hour of evaluation and intervention.

Design: A parallel randomized clinical trial was used.

Methods: A total of 208 patients in the immediate postoperative period were assessed for 1 hour, every 15 minutes. Thirst intensity was assessed initially and subsequently; interventions were performed according to the group: (1) control group, 10 mL of water at room temperature; and (2) experimental group, 10-mL ice popsicle.

Findings: The ice popsicle was 37.8% (P < .01) more effective than water regarding the intensity variation between the initial and final thirst. The thirst intensity and number of interventions were different for the two groups as from the second moment (P < .01). Regarding not reaching satiety after an hour of evaluation and intervention, the relative risk was 41%, the relative risk reduction was 59%, the absolute risk reduction was 31%, and the number needed to treat was 3.2.

Conclusions: Ice popsicle has greater efficacy than water at room temperature for thirst management in the immediate postoperative period.

Keywords: ice; perioperative nursing; recovery room; thirst; water.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Ice*
  • Postanesthesia Nursing / methods*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Thirst*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ice