Improving cancer patients’ knowledge about totally implantable access port: a randomized controlled trial



Providing patients with written information about totally implantable access ports (TIAPs) is recommended during the pre-implantation period to reduce anxiety and to help recalling information. No study tested the effectiveness of information about TIAP neither with oral communication nor with booklets. This study aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of an information booklet, alone or together with answers to clarification questions, both in improving patients’ short- and long-time knowledge about TIAP and in decreasing patients’ physiological indicators of anxiety immediately after TIAP implantation.


This is a randomized controlled trial with three parallel groups: group A (n = 34) receiving only the booklet, group B (n = 34) receiving the booklet with answers to clarification questions, and group C (n = 37) receiving routine care.


After 3 months, pair comparisons revealed a significant improvement in knowledge of TIAP in each group (p < 0.001), together with a significant difference in group C compared with groups A (p < 0.001) and B (p < 0.001), similar to each other. Physiological indicators of anxiety decreased in the intervention groups compared to control group immediately after TIAP implantation.


The interventions provided resulted effective in decreasing patients’ physiological indicators of anxiety immediately after TIAP implantation and improving patients’ knowledge about TIAP immediately and at 3 months. Adding answers to clarification questions to the booklet was not more effective than the booklet alone. A well-designed booklet with attention both to scientific content and to communication techniques is useful in improving patients’ knowledge about TIAP and reducing anxiety.

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We thank the cancer patients who participated in the study. This research received a grant from the Center of Excellence of Nursing Research and Culture, Nursing Professional Board of Rome.

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No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.

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Correspondence to Michela Piredda.

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Piredda, M., Biagioli, V., Giannarelli, D. et al. Improving cancer patients’ knowledge about totally implantable access port: a randomized controlled trial. Support Care Cancer 24, 833–841 (2016).

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  • Central venous catheters
  • Neoplasms
  • Preoperative care
  • Patient education handout
  • Patient information