The effects of back massage before diagnostic cardiac catheterization

Author: McNamara ME//Burnham DC//Smith C//Carroll DL
Affiliation: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
Conference/Journal: Altern Ther Health Med
Date published: 2003
Other: Volume ID: 9 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 50-7 , Word Count: 247

CONTEXT: Admission to the hospital for a diagnostic cardiac catheterization can be perceived as a threat to one's health status. Autonomic nervous system arousal, particularly the sympathetic division, can elicit negative physiological and psychological human responses as a reaction to this threat. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of a 20-minute back massage on the physiological and psychological human responses of patients admitted for a diagnostic cardiac catheterization. DESIGN: A randomized clinical trial design was used. Data were compared in a repeated measures design before massage (T1), immediately following the back massage or standard care (T2), and 10 minutes later (T3). SETTING: A large urban academic medical center. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-six subjects admitted from home for a diagnostic cardiac catheterization. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, respiration, peripheral skin temperature, pain perception, and psychological state. INTERVENTION: A 20-minute back massage. RESULTS: There was a significant difference between subject effect for group, with a reduction in systolic blood pressure in the treatment group (F = 8.6, P < .05). In addition, main effects were noted for time for diastolic blood pressure (F = 5.44; P < .006), respiration (F = 10.6; P < .005), total Profile of Mood States score (F = 5.9; P < .001) and pain perception (F = 4.09; P < .04) in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: A 20-minute back massage appeared to reduce systolic blood pressure in patients awaiting a diagnostic cardiac catheterization, while preparatory time in the cardiac catheterization laboratory appeared to reduce diastolic blood pressure, respiration, perceived psychological distress, and pain.