Needle Decoration Reduces Anxiety Among Patients

People have lots of things to be anxious and scared about. Among these things that cause anxiety include medical devices. Children are frightened when they see syringes and needles. Oftentimes, immunization can be a traumatic event for them because they tend to remember their last uneventful encounters with needles.

Needle phobia is defined as an intense fear of needles, syringes, IV therapy and medical devices. It can seriously compromise and hinder medical care. Experts say that a novel cognitive treatment consisting of simple design and/or decorations on needles and syringes would help in reducing phobia among patients.

Fear and anxiety have been recorded to reduce significantly as accurately measured by validated reaction scales. This is conducted when patients were exposed to decorated devices.  A fear of needles, syringes and IV devices is given the general term of needle phobia. Adults may be able to express needle phobia verbally or even not comply with the treatment regimen of the physician, while children may be more fearful, hysterical and anxious.

Certain studies have focused on certain specific psychological components of stress, aversion, fear and anxiety. Experts have hypothesized that it is likely that decorating these devices actually is a form of neurophysiological intervention, resulting in stimulation of the brain areas, which are not usually in association with fear and anxiety caused by being in contact with medical devices. Moreover, these other interventions of decoration of the medical devices are actually geared to focus on the patient’s attention and reaction to medical devices. However, fear and aversion are still significantly reduced. Neuroimaging of brain activation in reaction to such decorated devices could provide a more telling explanation of the stress-decreasing effects in the future.

There was a randomized controlled trial that has been recently approved by IRB or Institutional Review Board. 100 patients were recruited from outpatient departments, and they 67 were females, 33 were males. 41% of which were adults and 59% were pediatrics. They were representing the typical mix of subjects in a normal family clinic. After written informed consent, the subjects where selected to be randomly exposed to different designs of winged needles and varying designs of syringes fitted with a needle. Smaller sets of subject were chosen to be exposed to different designs of IV bags, as well as scalpels. Stress-reducing syringes, as compared to 3 other typical traditional syringes, yielded a mean 51% decrease in anxiety scores, 53% decrease in fear scores, and 79% decrease in aversion scores. Stress-lessening butterfly needles decreased aversion by 68%, anxiety by 50%, and fear by 52%. For each test group of devices, the manifestation of individual devices to each of the subject was randomized  in order to eliminate the chance of consistent bias. Certain emotional responses to the devices were determined and validated via visual reaction scales where 0 is designated to be the lowest response and 10 being the highest.

All of these may sound odd, but if you happen to have a specific phobia of your own, you will know where these people are coming from. It can bring about grave physiological symptoms of anxiety among patients suffering from this phobia.

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