The effectiveness of a guided imagery intervention for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery

Sandy Lynn Hermele, Fordham University

Abstract

The current study sought to explore the effectiveness of a guided imagery intervention for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. As previous research has demonstrated, psychological distress, in particular depression, affects patients needing coronary artery bypass graft surgery more then the general population. Furthermore, the incidence of depression has been found to increase a patient's risk for further cardiac morbidity and mortality. The healthcare industry has become more interested in the use of complementary and alternative medicine. Guided imagery is a form of directed meditation that utilizes all the senses to promote healthy functioning, psychologically and physiologically. ^ Fifty-six patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery were included and randomized into one of three groups, a guided imagery intervention, a music therapy control, and a standard care control. Patients completed baseline assessments of depression and anxiety, mood distress, and illness perception. Patients assigned to the intervention groups listened to their guided imagery or music therapy tapes preoperatively and intraoperatively. Patients completed follow-up assessments one week postoperatively. ^ The results did not achieve significance for the main hypotheses. However, analytic results do suggest that the guided imagery intervention helped minimize patients' postoperative distress. Various aspects of the current study may help explain the lack of significant findings. First, it must be considered that the current guided imagery intervention was not effective in minimizing postoperative distress for the current sample of patients. Second, the strength of the methodology as compared to previous work may explain the lack of results here, while previous work has revealed significant outcomes. And, third, there are limitations to the study's implementation, including the power of the study, which may have been insufficient to obtain significant results. ^ Despite the lack of significant results, the current study illuminates a strong research design assessing the effectiveness of a complementary and alternative therapy. Furthermore, some results do suggest that the guided imagery intervention was effective in helping to control patients' postoperative distress, and therefore, healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers should be made aware of the adjunctive therapies that may help patients cope with serious medical illness.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Physiological

Recommended Citation

Sandy Lynn Hermele, "The effectiveness of a guided imagery intervention for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery" (January 1, 2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3240062.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3240062

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