Calming Kids Before Surgery: Give Them an iPad

Tablet-based games could help decrease anxiety before an operation 

Game Apps On Apple Ipad Air

Research shows playing tablet-based games before anesthesia and surgery could be more beneficial in reducing anxiety in children.

A new study reports that children who played games on an iPad mini before going under anesthesia for surgery had reduced levels of anxiety compared to regular sedation. The study, published in Pediatric Anesthesia, took 108 kids between the ages of 1 and 11 and randomly assigned each to receive either a dose of oral midazolam syrup (a sedative) or an iPad mini before going under anesthesia. Kids in the iPad group chose an age-appropriate game and started playing it when it was time to separate from their parents for preoperative anesthesia, and continued up until the time they received the anesthesia. The other group received the sedative 15 minutes before anesthesia.

The results showed that children in the tablet group had a 9-point decrease in anxiety (on a scale of 100) when separated from their parents and a 14-point decrease in anxiety when anesthesia was being administered, compared to those who received sedation instead. Recovery time was also affected, with the tablet group recovering much faster after surgery than the sedation group.

“Anxiety is a major source of concern for children going to the hospital for anything, but especially for surgery,” said Dr. Samuel C. Seiden, lead author of the study. “That whole process of leaving parents or having someone put a mask over your face can be a very traumatic experience. That’s why we spent a lot of time thinking about how we could make this less anxiety-provoking for children.”

To read the full article on the study, click here.

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