The effect of preoperative uncertainty and anxiety on short-term recovery after elective arthroplasty

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Aims and objectives. This study examined the effect of preoperative anxiety and uncertainty on short-term physical and mental recovery after elective arthroplasty. Background. Uncertainty and anxiety accompany all medical procedures. Although preoperative uncertainty plays a central role in the development of stress, only a few studies explicitly examine this issue in terms of its impact on postoperative recovery. Design. Quazi-experimental study. Methods. Two self-administered questionnaires were used to collect data, before and five to six days after surgery. Participants (n = 87) admitted for elective arthroplasty completed the study. Results. Preoperative anxiety negatively affected postoperative recovery variables and preoperative uncertainty negatively affected mental and physical recovery after surgery. Furthermore, postoperative symptoms were related to the patients' subjective readiness to be discharged. Conclusions. Separately, reduction of preoperative anxiety and uncertainty could have a positive impact on postoperative recovery and on perceived readiness to be discharged. Relevance to clinical practice. The unique contribution of each preoperative variable (uncertainty and anxiety) to postoperative recovery emphasizes the need for clinical and educational interventions that separately relieve uncertainty and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-583
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Anxiety
  • Nurses
  • Nursing
  • Postoperative discharge
  • Recovery


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