Psychiatric Symptoms in Surgical Patients: An Assessment of the Course of Anxiety

Ukpong, D. I. ; Adesunkanmi, A. R. K. (2004)


Fifty five (55) patients consecutively booked for major elective surgery were assessed pre-operatively for minor psychiatric symptoms and baseline anxiety levels using the GHQ-30 and the state version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Measurements of post-operative anxiety levels were also done for the seven consecutive post-operative days using the STAI. The prevalence of minor psychiatric morbidity was 38%. Patients who were GHQ-30 cases had higher pre-operative and post-operative anxiety levels than those who were not GHQ-30 cases. Mean baseline pre-operative anxiety levels were not achieved even on the seventh post-operative day. Pre-operative and post-operative psychological interventions may have useful clinical implications for the anesthesiologist surgeon and psychiatrist as they may need to pay special attention to those identified as being at a greater risk for pre and post-operative anxiety.