Evaluation of the Preliminary Effectiveness of Hand Massage Therapy on Postoperative Pain of Adults in the Intensive Care Unit after Cardiac Surgery: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Mădălina Boitor
    Affiliations
    Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Géraldine Martorella
    Affiliations
    Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

    Quebec Nursing Intervention Research Network (RRISIQ), Montréal, Québec, Canada

    Faculty of Nursing, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Caroline Arbour
    Affiliations
    Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

    Quebec Nursing Intervention Research Network (RRISIQ), Montréal, Québec, Canada

    Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Cécile Michaud
    Affiliations
    Quebec Nursing Intervention Research Network (RRISIQ), Montréal, Québec, Canada

    School of Nursing, Univeristé de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
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  • Céline Gélinas
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Céline Gélinas, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, 3506, University Street, Montreal, QC H3A 2A7, Canada.
    Affiliations
    Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

    Centre for Nursing Research and Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, Montréal, Québec, Canada

    Quebec Nursing Intervention Research Network (RRISIQ), Montréal, Québec, Canada

    Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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      Abstract

      Although many intensive care unit patients experience significant pain, very few studies explored massage to maximize their pain relief. This study aimed to evaluate the preliminary effects of hand massage on pain after cardiac surgery in the adult intensive care unit. A pilot randomized controlled trial was used for this study. The study was conducted in a Canadian medical-surgical intensive care unit. Forty adults who were admitted to the intensive care unit after undergoing elective cardiac surgery in the previous 24 hours participated in the study. They were randomly assigned to the experimental (n = 21) or control (n = 19) group. The experimental group received a 15-minute hand massage, and the control group received a 15-minute hand-holding without massage. In both groups the intervention was followed by a 30-minute rest period. The interventions were offered on 2-3 occasions within 24 hours after surgery. Pain, muscle tension, and vital signs were assessed. Pain intensity and behavioral scores were decreased for the experimental group. Although hand massage decreased muscle tension, fluctuations in vital signs were not significant. This study supports potential benefits of hand massage for intensive care unit postoperative pain management. Although larger randomized controlled trials are necessary, this low-cost nonpharmacologic intervention can be safely administered.
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