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J Korean Acad Nurs. 1999 Feb;29(1):97-106. Korean. Original Article.
Cho KS .
Department of Nursing, Kyungwon College, Korea.

This study was designed to investigate the effect of a hand massage program on anxiety and immune function in patients during cataract surgery. The hand massage program, in this study, consisted of hand massage and hand-holding. The subjects were sixty-three patients, thirty for the experimental and thirty-three for the control group, who were admitted at Kang Nam St. Mary's Hospital for cataract surgery. This study was carried out from December 10, 1997 to February 26, 1998. The level of anxiety as measured by the Visual Analogue Scale, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and pulse rate were measured before, after hand massage, and after hand-holding. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, blood sugar levels, neutrophil, lymphocyte, and natural killer cell percentages also were measured before hand massage and five minutes before the end of the operation. Data were analyzed by t-test, ANCOVA, repeated measure ANOVA, and Bonferroni multiple comparisons. The results were as follows : 1) After hand massage, psychological anxiety levels decreased significantly compare with before hand massage in the experimental group, not in the control group. After hand holding, there were significant decrease in both groups. 2) There were no significant differences on systolic blood pressure, diastorlc blood pressure, and pulse rates in both groups. 3) The hand massage program decreased epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol significantly in the experimental group and increased epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol in the control group. 4) There were no differences in blood sugar levels, neutrophil and lymphocyte percentages in white blood cells after the hand massage program. However, natural killer cells in lymphocytes were significantly increased in the experimental group. These findings indicate that a hand massage program could be a effective nursing intervention in decreasing the psychological and physiological anxiety levels and improving immune function in clients having cataract surgery under local anesthesia.

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