Clinical study

Perioperative patient expectations, advantages and disadvantages

  • Research area:  Anaesthesiology nursing research

  • Primary investigator: Nanna Wagner Christiansen

Systematic Review with Meta-analysis

The aim is to search the literature to identify factors that affect patients´ expectations either in a positively or negatively way.

It is gradually known that patients´ responses to treatment are influenced by their preoperative expectations. The patients´ expectations (PE) impact their satisfaction about the treatment as the patients will likely be dissatisfied if the treatment does not meet their expectations. Studies show that patients who expect the treatment to improve their condition, no matter if it is a sham or not, experience the treatment to be more beneficial and vice versa. PE can result in a placebo or nocebo effect.

It arises from patients´ negative expectations, and also well-intended warnings given by health providers before an intervention, such as “this will hurt”, play an important role. This indicates that PE could be an essential confounding aspect and, therefore, something we need to consider, not only when conducting trials but also in the daily clinical practice.

It remains unclear if and how PE relates to outcomes after treatment. Therefore, to understand which postoperatively factors can be affected by PE, it is necessary to search the literature in terms of identifying factors we, as health providers, must consider as important when aiming for an improvement of patients´ satisfaction and benefit of the treatment.