Which would you guess is more effective for reducing anxiety in children awaiting surgery: giving them a sedative that’s regularly used before anesthesia or letting them play with iPads?
It turns out that they both calm nerves, according to new research, but overall the iPads are better.
In a study presented in late August at the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in Hong Kong, researchers from Université Hospital of Lyon assigned 115 children awaiting simple surgeries to two groups. Sixty of them were given iPads that allowed them to play games, featuring familiar animals like cats, dogs and frogs, and puzzles. The popular app Angry Birds also was an option. The other 55 were given a low dose of the sedative midazolam.
Independent psychologists measured the level of anxiety in the children and their parents when they arrived at the hospital, when the kids were separated from their parents, during the administering of anesthesia and following the operation. The researchers also asked nurses how satisfied they were with how the anesthesia worked.
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