Research: ASHTON and colleagues, De

Listed in Issue 24


ASHTON and colleagues, Department of Surgery, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York NY USA conducted a study to evaluate the effects of self-hypnosis and its role in coronary artery bypass surgery . The authors hypothesised that self-hypnosis relaxation techniques would have a positive effects upon the patients mental and physical condition following coronary artery bypass surgery.



In the prospective, randomised trial at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, patients were followed, commencing one day prior to surgery until time of hospital discharge. All patients undergoing first-time elective coronary artery bypass surgery were eligible and the 32 patients who were recruited to the trial were randomised into two groups. The study group was taught self-hypnosis relaxation techniques preoperatively; the control group received no therapy. Outcome variables included anaesthetic requirements, operative parameters, postoperative pain medication requirements, quality of life, hospital stay, major morbidity and mortality.


Compared to the control group, the patients who had been taught self-hypnosis relaxation techniques were significantly more relaxed postoperatively . Those patients who practised the self-hypnosis relaxation techniques required significantly less pain medication than those who did not. There were no differences seen in intraoperative parameters, morbidity or mortality.


: The research demonstrates the beneficial effects of self-hypnosis relaxation techniques on patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery and also provides a framework in which to study complementary techniques and the limitations encountered.


Ashton C Jr et al. Self-hypnosis reduces anxiety following coronary artery bypass surgery. A prospective, randomised trial. J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino) 38(1): 69-75. Feb 1997.


It is encouraging to read of the application of hypnosis techniques to surgical protocol, with its resultant improved prognosis and reduction in pain medication.

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