Expectations and Experiences of Open Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair patients: A Mixed Methods Study.

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Aims and objectives
To establish what patients' expectations of postoperative pain were when undergoing open surgical repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm. A review of the relevant literature highlighted the fact that there had been no such studies conducted within a similar such homogenous group. Therefore, this study aimed to explore pain expectations prospectively and then compare these with the patients' actual experiences.

It has long been established that high levels of satisfaction with pain management are very often reported in patients despite suffering from severe to moderate levels of pain. The reasons for these high satisfaction levels are not always as clear, although it is suggested that patients have an expectation of postoperative pain.

The study set out to establish what expectations of pain patients had and the factors that might influence them within the abdominal aortic aneurysm subject group. A mixed methods approach was used.

Pain expectations were gathered preoperatively using a Likert scale of pain scoring. These were then compared with the recorded postoperative pain scores. This was followed by a semi-structured interview.

The study illustrated that patients expected to have postoperative pain as a natural consequence of their operations. Patients appeared to draw upon their previous experiences. Pain expectation levels were statistically significant, 60% of patients expected to have pain postoperatively.

This study demonstrated that patients expect to have postoperative pain. Such expectations might influence the individual's relationship and experience of their postoperative management.

Relevance to clinical practice
The study highlights the need for nurses to evaluate the preoperative information given to patients and to listen to expectations they voice. Patient expectations of pain are sometimes that they expect to have pain, and it is the management of this pain that makes a difference to them
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421–428
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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