In this study, we evaluated the effects of viewing an educational videotape about pediatric anesthesia on measures of parental knowledge of anesthesia and preoperative anxiety using a randomized, controlled design. During their routine preoperative visit, 85 parents of children scheduled to undergo ambulatory surgical procedures under general anesthesia were randomized to view either the experimental videotape about pediatric anesthesia or a control videotape with no medical content. Before and immediately after viewing the assigned videotape, parents completed measures of situational anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-State), preoperative anxiety and need for information (Amsterdam Preoperative Anxiety and Information Scale), and anesthesia knowledge (Standard Anesthesia Learning Test). Repeated-measures analyses of variance showed that parents who viewed the experimental videotape showed a significant increase in anesthesia knowledge (P < 0.022) and a significant reduction in their state of anxiety (P < 0.031), anesthesia-specific anxiety, and need for information (P < 0.0001) compared with the control group. These results demonstrated that viewing a preoperative educational videotape about pediatric anesthesia can provide immediate educational and anxiolytic benefits for parents of children undergoing ambulatory surgery. The duration of these benefits remains to be determined.
Implications: In this study, we demonstrated the benefits of viewing an educational videotape about pediatric anesthesia on measures of parental knowledge of anesthesia and preoperative anxiety using a randomized, controlled design. We found that videotape viewing facilitated preoperative preparation and lessened preoperative anxiety.