Objective: To examine the influence during the early postoperative period of selected nursing interventions on mood and anxiety of patients undergoing heart surgery.
Design: Prospective, repeated measures, quasiexperimental, random assignment.
Setting: The cardiovascular intensive care and progressive care units of a midwestern community hospital were used as the setting for this study.
Patients: Ninety-six patients who underwent elective, heart bypass surgery; the mean age of the subjects was 67 years, with an age range of 37 to 84 years. Most subjects were men (n = 65, 68%).
Outcome measures: Physiologic measures of anxiety and mood include blood pressure and heart rate. Additional measures included the use of Spielberger's state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) and patient verbal ratings of both mood and anxiety with use of a numeric rating scale (NRS).
Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) music therapy, (2) music-video therapy, or (3) scheduled rest group. Subjects in the groups received their assigned 30-minute intervention at two episodes on postoperative days 2 and 3. Subjects had physiologic measures of blood pressure and heart rate measured immediately before the intervention and at 10-minute intervals throughout the intervention. Mood and anxiety were evaluated by having subjects use a NRS (i.e., 0 to 10) to give rating of mood and anxiety immediately before and after each session. Anxiety was further measured with the STAI. A baseline measure of STAI was taken before surgery; patients also completed the "state" anxiety tool before the intervention session on postoperative day 2 and on completion of the session on postoperative day 3.
Results: With use of an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), subjects' mood ratings showed significant improvement in mood among subjects in the "music intervention" group after the second intervention when controlling for the preintervention rating of mood, F(2, 87) = 4.33, p = 0.016. However, no significant differences were reported for anxiety ratings as measured by the NRS and state anxiety instruments. With use of repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA), there were no significant interactions between the intervention groups and time for any of the physiologic variables. However, there were significant main effects over time for heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which indicated a generalized physiologic relaxation response.
Conclusions: Although none of the three interventions was overwhelmingly superior, the overall response by all intervention groups demonstrated a generalized relaxation response. It is also important to note that there was reduced anxiety and improved mood within all three groups.