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Despite growing evidence that an educational anaesthesia video can effectively reduce perioperative anxiety, the ideal medium for addressing perioperative anxiety is unclear.The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of viewing an anaesthetic patient information video on anxiety levels in patients scheduled to undergo surgery.A randomised controlled trial.Pingtung Christian Hospital (PTCH), Taiwan.One hundred patients were randomised to either an experimental group (n = 50) or a control group (n = 50).At the preoperative clinic, the experimental group watched the an 8 minute educational anaesthetic video, whereas the control group received a standard 8-min verbal briefing on anaesthesia after preoperative assessment.The Chinese version of the Spielberger state trait anxiety inventory, which included a state scale (STAI-S) and a trait scale (STAI-T), was performed in the preoperative clinic (T1) before anaesthetic preassessment, at the preoperative holding area just before surgery (T2) and again on the third day after surgery (T3). Scores for overall satisfaction with medical care were obtained on the third day after surgery. For two time interval comparisons, effect size was used to standardise the extent of change as measured by STAI-S.After the educational intervention, state anxiety was lower in the experimental group than in the control group at both T2 (42.9 ± 6.5 vs. 45.0 ± 12.7) and T3 (40.2 ± 5.3 vs. 48.8 ± 8.5). Compared with control group, the experimental group had a larger effect size at T2 and T3 (−0.65 and −0.36, respectively). Overall satisfaction was significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group (P < 0.05).Perioperative anxiety was significantly reduced and overall patient satisfaction increased after viewing a preoperative educational anaesthesia video compared with a standard verbal briefing on anaesthesia.