hypnosis for TEE

Hypnosis as an Alternative to Sedation

If you’ve had any experience with medical issues, then you probably can think of a dozen or so tests that are so uncomfortable that would make you cringe when your doctor mentions that you have one. Some tests are so uncomfortable that, in order for it to be performed, you must first be sedated. One of these “dreaded” tests is a transesophageal echocardiogram.

The transesophageal echocardiogram, or TEE for short, is a test that records detailed images of your heart and arteries. These pictures can determine the size of the heart, how well it is pumping, locate abnormal tissue, among other things. The TEE takes these pictures by using high-frequency sound waves. What makes this test so uncomfortable is that these sound waves originate from a tube that is inserted into your mouth and down your throat, and into your esophagus. The tube will stay there for up to 30 minutes while the pictures are taken. The patient’s throat is numbed and given a sedative before the test, but remain conscious throughout the procedure.

Hypnosis vs. Drugs

Many people do not like how sedatives make them feel. Especially when the effects begin to wear off. Drowsiness, grogginess, and feeling like the head is stuffed with cotton are just a few of the typical complaints. There are many other reasons a person would prefer alternatives to drugs, from trouble with addiction to religious beliefs. The problem is that there hasn’t been a viable alternative for patients to turn to.

That idea has recently been challenged by a clinical study at a university in Istanbul, Turkey. Researchers in the study looked at how effective hypnosis could be when compared to midazolam, a sedative often used for TEE testing.

They used 41 patients for the study. One group was given hypnosis before TEE testing, while the group was given a dose of midazolam. Both groups were evaluated for anxiety and alertness before and after testing. Also, the cardiologists (heart doctors) that performed the TEE rated the difficulty of the procedure and in inserting the tube into each patient’s throat. Finally, each patient rated their satisfaction with the TEE test.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that patients that underwent hypnosis appeared to have less anxiety toward the procedure, as well as being more attentive to their surroundings, than the patients that received midazolam. The researchers determined that hypnosis proved to have a positive effect when used as an alternative to sedatives. Patients tend to be calmer and more alert during their treatment while under hypnosis, therefore, more satisfied. This result should be good news to patients who are seeking an alternative to sedatives when undergoing uncomfortable tests such as a transesophageal echocardiogram.


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