Recollection of dreams after short general anaesthesia:
influence on patient anxiety and satisfaction

Hellwagner K, Holzer A, Gustorff B, Schroegendorfer K, Greher M,
Weindlmayr-Goettel M, Saletu B, Lackner FX.
University of Vienna,
Department of Anaesthesia and General Intensive Care
(A & B), Vienna, Austria.
Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2003 Apr;20(4):282-8.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: We ascertained whether dreams during short general anaesthesia influence subsequent patient satisfaction and anxiety. METHODS: Fifty female patients were randomized into two groups to test for a difference between intravenous and inhalational anaesthesias. In Group Propo, anaesthesia was induced and maintained with propofol; in Group Metho-Iso, anaesthesia was induced with methohexital and maintained with isoflurane. Satisfaction and anxiety with anaesthesia were evaluated using a visual analogue scale from 0 to 100. Dream incidence rate, satisfaction and anxiety were assessed from immediately after waking until 3 months later. RESULTS: Seventeen patients (34%) dreamed during anaesthesia. There were no significant differences in satisfaction or anxiety after anaesthesia between the dreaming and non-dreaming patients (satisfaction, 92.3 +/- 21.6 versus 92.1 +/- 21.6; anxiety, 21.1 +/- 21.1 versus 30.3 +/- 32.1), or between Group Propo and Group Metho-Iso (satisfaction, 94.4 +/- 19.3 versus 90.0 +/- 23.4; anxiety, 26.0 +/- 27.6 versus 28.4 +/- 30.7). There was no significant difference in the incidence rate of dreaming with the type of anaesthesia used (Group Propo, 11 patients; Group Metho-Iso, 6 patients). CONCLUSIONS: Dreaming during general anaesthesia is common but does not influence satisfaction or anxiety after anaesthesia.
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