BACKGROUND: Video-assisted patient education during the preanesthetic clinic visit is a new intervention to increase knowledge transfer to the patient regarding anesthesia procedure and risks. However, little is known about whether video-based patient education influences patient anxiety and the duration of the preanesthetic visit. METHODS: Two hundred nine consecutive patients, who visited the anesthesia clinic before major operations, were randomly assigned to one of three groups: no-video (Group 1), video-before-interview (Group 2), and video-after-interview (Group 3). Anxiety levels were measured before and after the interview using the state trait anxiety inventory and a visual analog scale (anxiety). Patient knowledge regarding anesthesia technique, anesthesia-related risks, and patient satisfaction were assessed after the interview using standardized questionnaires. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in anxiety levels and patient satisfaction among the three groups. Patient knowledge was significantly higher in the video groups compared with the no-video group. The duration of the preanesthetic interview was significantly extended in Group 2 (video-before) (23.1 +/- 14.0 min), compared with Group 1 (no-video) (17.6 +/- 7.2 min), and Group 3 (video-after) (18.3 +/- 9.6 min). This difference was even more profound in subgroups of patients scheduled for anesthesia techniques with invasive monitoring. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that the use of a video for detailed anesthesia risk education does not change patient anxiety, but leads to a better understanding of the procedure and risks of anesthesia. When the video is shown before the preanesthetic interview, the interview is longer.
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