Does increased patient comprehension decrease preoperative anxiety before digestive surgery?

J Visc Surg. 2022 Apr;159(2):114-120. doi: 10.1016/j.jviscsurg.2021.02.009. Epub 2021 May 20.


Background: There exists a misalignment between the information given by a surgeon and the information retained by the patient. Inability to assimilate relevant information can be a factor of preoperative anxiety. The aim of this study was to assess patients' information retention according to a Fédération de Chirurgie Viscérale et Digestive (FCVD) questionnaire.

Materials: From 29 June 2020 to 2 August 2020, a prospective, comparative multicenter study was conducted among 89 patients who were about to undergo digestive surgery. They were included either in a standard group (management in accordance with the usual French guidelines) or experimental group, which received a second consultation, one week before surgery. The day before being operated, all the patients filled out 3 questionnaires analyzing their percentage of retention according to two scales: the Amsterdam Preoperative Anxiety and information Scale (APAIS) and the visual analogue scale for anxiety (VAS-A).

Results: Patient comprehension of the FCVD information was 94% and 63% in the experimental and the control groups, respectively (P<0.001). The standard group was significantly more anxious than the experimental group, with VAS-A rates of 6.2 and 4.6 (P=0.014), respectively. On the other hand, according to the APAIS scale, they were similarly anxious, with scores of 11.3 versus 11.9, respectively (P=0.200).

Conclusion: A second transmission of exhaustive information shortly before digestive surgery was conducive to improved retention. Enhanced comprehension and memorization reduced preoperative anxiety.

Keywords: APAIS; Anxiety; Assimilation; Digestive surgery; Preoperative information; VAS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety* / etiology
  • Anxiety* / prevention & control
  • Comprehension*
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires