Audiovisual Interventions for Parental Preoperative Anxiety: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Objective: To systematically review and meta-analyze studies assessing the effectiveness of audiovisual (AV) interventions aimed at reducing anxiety in parents whose children are undergoing elective surgery. Methods: A comprehensive search of multiple electronic databases was performed. A narrative synthesis of findings and random-effects meta-analyses were used to summarize the results. Our primary outcome was parental anxiety. Secondary outcomes included children’s preoperative anxiety and postoperative outcomes; parental satisfaction, knowledge, and need for anesthesia information. Risk of bias was appraised within and across studies. Results: Our search yielded 723 studies and 11 were included. A Standardized Mean Difference (SMD) of −0.53 (95% CI [−0.91, −0.15], p < .01) was found between parental anxiety scores in AV interventions and control groups. In terms of children’s preoperative anxiety, there was a SMD of −0.59 (95% CI [−1.11, −0.07], p < .05) between children’s anxiety scores in AV intervention and nonintervention participants. Furthermore, AV interventions were shown to shorten the recovery time for children undergoing surgery (SMD = −0.21; 95% CI [−0.39, −0.02], p = .03) but did not lead to improvements on other postoperative outcomes. Conclusions: These findings suggest that AV interventions have modest, positive effects on both parental and children’s preoperative anxiety. Although a statistically significant medium size effect was detected, the clinical significance of this finding requires further exploration. Further research aimed at developing better AV interventions to help guide future practice is warranted.

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