Patients' experiences in relation to pain and anxiety during an intervention of visualisation
BACKGROUND: Going through ablation of atrial fibrillation can be accompanied by pain and discomfort when a light, conscious sedation is used. Visualisation has been shown to reduce the patients' perception of pain and anxiety during invasive procedures, when it is used together with the usual pain management. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate patients' experiences with visualisation in relation to pain and anxiety during an intervention consisting of visualisation, when undergoing ablation of atrial fibrillation. METHODS: Qualitative interviews were conducted with 14 patients from a study population of a clinical controlled study with 147 patients. The transcribed interviews were analysed according to qualitative methodology of inductive content analysis. FINDINGS: Four categories emerged from the interviews: 'approach to visualisation'; 'strategies of managing pain'; 'strategies of managing anxiety' and 'benefits of visualisation'. The transversal analyses revealed two overall themes which highlight the experiences of being guided in visualisation during ablation of atrial fibrillation: 'stimulation of the patients' own resources' and 'being satisfied without complete analgesia' CONCLUSION: Visualisation used during ablation of atrial fibrillation was reported as a positive experience with no serious inconvenience: It seemed that visualisation did not produce complete analgesia but the patients expressed that it provided some pain relief and supported their individual strategies in managing pain and anxiety. Our findings indicate that visualisation for acute pain during ablation of atrial fibrillation was associated not only with a decrease in experience of pain but also with high levels of treatment satisfaction and other non-pain-related benefits.
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2014, Vol 14, Issue 6, p. 552-559