Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 157-163

Patients' concerns and perceptions of anesthesia-associated risks at University Hospital: A cross-sectional study

1 Medical Students, King Abdulaziz University, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Esraa A Roublah
Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_560_19

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Background/Aim: The expectation of undergoing general anesthesia triggers fear in many individuals, and such anxiety can even exceed anxiety about surgery. The only opportunity patients usually have to express their concerns and ask questions is during a preoperative visits to their anesthesiologist. Therefore, a good anesthesiologist-patient relationship is important to reduce patients' anxiety. Achieving this end requires information on patients' attitudes and concerns regarding anesthesia. This study aimed to assess patients' knowledge, attitudes, and concerns about preoperative assessment and fear associated with anesthesia at University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Methods: This cross-sectional study used a self-administered questionnaire distributed to 399 outpatients. Data were collected on patient's characteristics, perceptions about anesthesiologists, preferences for anesthetic management, and preoperative concerns regarding anesthesia. Results: Most patients thought that anesthesiologists spent only 3 years in medical school and 2 years in a residency program. Survey participants had several misconceptions about anesthesiologists' role, but it did not affect ratings of their importance. Although, the confidence of patients in anesthesiologists was high, it was significantly lower than their confidence in surgeons. The most common concern expressed by the patients was based on whether anesthesiologists had sufficient experience and qualifications. Conclusions: Discussing anesthetic forms preoperatively can help decrease patients' anxiety. More efforts should be made preoperatively to address patients' high level of fear about rare side effects and discuss common side effects they tend to ignore. Preoperative preparation must allow the anesthesiologists enough time to reassure patients about their concerns, as they obtain patients' informed consent.

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