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Increased preoperative knowledge reduces surgery-related anxiety: a randomised clinical trial in 100 spinal stenosis patients



To assess the impact of preoperative knowledge on anxiety, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), disability, and pain in surgically treated spinal stenosis patients.


One hundred patients were randomised into an intervention group (IG, n = 50) or control group (CG, n = 50). Both groups received routine preoperative patient education. IG additionally underwent a feedback session based on a knowledge test. Primary outcome measure was anxiety at the time of surgery. HRQoL, disability, and pain constituted the secondary outcome measures during a 6-month follow-up.


In IG, a significant reduction in anxiety was noted after the intervention, whereas in CG, anxiety reduced only after the surgery. In both groups, a significant improvement in HRQoL, disability, and pain was noticed at the 6-month follow-up, but there were no between-group differences.


Higher knowledge level may reduce preoperative anxiety but does not seem to affect the self-reported clinical outcomes of surgery.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the role of Riikka Ruuskanen, RN, and Ella Haaranen in the study process. The study was supported by The Finnish Nurses Association, The Finnish Association of Nursing Research, The Research Association of Nurses, and the government research funds Granted by the Orton Research Foundation (9310/401).

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Correspondence to Jukka Kesänen.

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Kesänen, J., Leino-Kilpi, H., Lund, T. et al. Increased preoperative knowledge reduces surgery-related anxiety: a randomised clinical trial in 100 spinal stenosis patients. Eur Spine J 26, 2520–2528 (2017).

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  • Knowledge level
  • Spinal stenosis surgery
  • Anxiety
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Disability