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August 17, 1963

The Value of the Preoperative Visit by an AnesthetistA Study of Doctor-Patient Rapport

JAMA. 1963;185(7):553-555. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060070021016

The psychologic effect of the preoperative visit by an anesthetist has been compared with the effect of pentabarbital for preanesthetic medication. Patients receiving pentobarbital 1 hour before an operation became drowsy but it could not be shown that they became calm. Patients who had received a visit by an anesthetist before operation (informing them about the events which were to occur on the day of operation and about the anesthetic to be administered) were not drowsy but were more likely to be calm on the day of operation. The importance of the preoperative visit probably explains, in part, the difficulties previous investigators have had in showing sedative effects from barbiturates and narcotics before operation. The tremendous emotional significance to a patient of illness or an operation may explain why physicians are able to exert such influence upon their patients.