According to a study presented at the conference EuroHeartCare 2014, visualization of being in a pleasant location significantly reduces pain in patients during medical procedures.
Danish nurses put patients into a trance state, which helped them cope with the pain and the fear during the ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF).
“We asked patients to describe a pleasant place where they would like to be during the procedure. People usually choose a summer house, beach or forest glade. During the surgery, the nurse asked the patient to constantly focus on the selected location and describe all the details of the environment, such as smells and sounds,” said Marianne Wetendorff Nørgaard of the Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.
According to the experts, the visualization technique has broad application prospects in a number of operational procedures. In some cases, it could even make it possible to do without anesthesia, which often carries a high risk.
In a clinical study of visualization during AF ablation the researchers examined its impact on 76 patients who used the new technique and compared the results with other 71 patients with conventional method of pain relief.
The results showed that the patients who used visualization techniques during the procedure, which lasted from two to four hours, felt less sensitive to pain and asked for fewer painkillers.
In some countries, for example, in the United States and southern Europe, general anesthesia is typically used in such procedures and poses a risk to health and even life of the patient.
The experts believe that the use of visualization techniques along with local anesthesia and analgesics can successfully replace general anesthesia.