Vocal markers of preoperative anxiety: a pilot study

Open ArchivePublished:July 25, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bja.2019.06.020
      Editor—Recent European guidelines in anaesthesia recommend systematic preoperative anxiety management to prevent its negative perioperative impact,
      • De Hert S.
      • Staender S.
      • Fritsch G.
      • et al.
      Pre-operative evaluation of adults undergoing elective non cardiac surgery: updated guideline from the European Society of Anaesthesiology.
      including impaired memory of important instructions and higher incidence of postoperative acute and chronic pain. Usual self-administered questionnaires or scales to assess anxiety in the preoperative setting are time consuming and rely on patient willingness to comply with instructions.
      • Millar K.
      • Jelicic M.
      • Bonke B.
      • Asbury A.J.
      Assessment of preoperative anxiety: comparison of measures in patients awaiting surgery for breast cancer.
      Physiological signals, such as patient voice, may provide useful information for objective, reliable, and accurate anxiety assessment before surgery. Because of the extensive parasympathetic innervation to the larynx, pharynx, face, and head, stress modifies vocal parameters.
      • Giddens C.L.
      • Barron K.W.
      • Clark K.F.
      • Warde W.D.
      Beta-adrenergic blockade and voice: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
      • Bottalico P.
      Speech adjustments for room acoustics and their effects on vocal effort.
      The effects of acute anxiety on voice are poorly explored in the preoperative context. Our objective was to describe the characteristics of patient vocal parameters related to declared anxiety level in a day-care ophthalmic surgical unit performing cataract surgery.

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