Lavender aromatherapy reduced preoperative anxiety in a study of ambulatory surgery patients undergoing procedures in general otolaryngology. The effect observed in the Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology study was modest, however.
In the 100-patient study, the experimental group received inhalation lavender aromatherapy in the preoperative waiting area while the control group received standard nursing care. Both groups reported their anxiety with a visual analog scale upon arriving to the preoperative waiting area and upon departure to the operating room.
"Preoperative anxiety is associated with increased use of narcotics and anesthetics, prolonged duration of hospitalization, and reduced ability to fight infection and comprehend information about surgery," said senior author Ashutosh Kacker, MD of New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical College. "Given the simplicity, safety, and cost-effectiveness of aromatherapy, healthcare providers should consider its use for managing this common problem."