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Post-surgical chest tube removal (CTR) is associated with a significant pain and discomfort for patients. Current treatment strategies for reducing CTR-associated pain and anxiety are limited and partially efficacious. To determine the effects of cold application, inhalation of lavender essential oil, and their combination on pain and anxiety during CTR was investigated. This randomized controlled open-label trial was conducted with 80 patients in the cardiac surgery intensive care unit who had a chest tube for duration of at least 24 hours after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Patients were randomized (n=20 in each group) to receive cold application, aromatherapy with lavender oil, cold application in combination with lavender oil inhalation, or none of the above interventions (control group). The intensity and quality of pain and anxiety were evaluated using the visual analogue scale, short form and modified-McGill pain questionnaire (SFM-MPQ) and the Spielberger situational anxiety level inventory (STAII) scale, respectively. Patients in all treatment groups had significantly lower pain intensity and anxiety compared with the control group immediately, 5, 10 and 15 min after CTR. There was no statistically significant difference in the SFM-MPQ total scores between the intervention groups. With respect to anxiety score, there was a significantly reduced anxiety level immediately after CTR in the aromatherapy and cold-aromatherapy combination groups versus the cold application group. The present results suggested the efficacy of cold application and aromatherapy with lavender oil in reducing pain and anxiety associated with post-CABG CTR.
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