First of Its Kind Study Shows Complimentary Alternative Medicine Reduces
Pain and Tension in Heart Surgery Patients
MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 15, 2006--A recent study led by Vibhu
R. Kshettry, MD, a cardiovascular surgeon from the Minneapolis Heart
Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, shows that those patients who
receive complimentary alternative medical therapies, including music,
massage and guided imagery, before and after open heart surgery experience
less pain and tension during recovery than patients who receive standard care.
The study, which was funded by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation
and is published in Annals of Thoracic Surgeons, is believed to be the
first randomized study of complimentary alternative therapy in heart
surgery patients. It included 104 men and women who were randomly divided
into two groups--one that received alternative therapies at critical points
in the preoperative and recovery periods, and one that received standard care.
Prior to their surgeries, patients assigned to the complimentary
alternative medicine group received relaxation skills training, guided
imagery and 30-minutes of gentle touch or light massage. On the first two
days after the surgery, they listened to 20-minutes of country western,
classical or light instrumental music and more light massage.
Patients assigned to the standard care group spent most of their time
before and after surgery resting.
Physicians and nurses monitored the heart rates and blood pressure of
patients in both groups and had patients rate their levels of pain and
tension on a scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (the worst pain). While heart
rates and blood pressure for patients in both groups were similar, the mean
post-operative pain and tension scores for patients who received
alternative therapies were significantly lower than the scores of patients
in the standard care group--2.4 vs. 3.5 on day one of recovery and 1.3 vs.
2.1 on day two.
"Our study demonstrates the importance of incorporating complimentary
alternative therapies into the care of heart surgery patients," said
Kshettry. "Heart surgery is often associated with deep, visceral
postoperative pain that, if left untreated, can compromise recovery and
contribute to patient distress. Alternative therapies reduce that pain."