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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 137-143

Efficacy of spontaneous laughter in the post-operative treatment of pain and anxiety in children: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

1 Hospital General Naval de Alta Especialidad, Mexico City; Escuela Medico Naval, Mexico City, Mexico
2 Escuela Medico Naval, Mexico City; Departamento de Metodología de la Investigación, Instituto Nacional de Pediatría, Mexico City, Mexico
3 Hospital General Naval de Alta Especialidad, Mexico City, Mexico

Correspondence Address:
Volkmar Wanzke Del Angel
Hospital General Naval de Alta Especialidad, Mexico City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2468-5577.187080

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Background: Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of laughter in contributing to a better quality of life. Strategies can be optimized to elevate tolerance to pain and to combat stress, thereby reducing the impacts of stress, such as the increase in arterial tension, reduction in perfusion of the non-motor organs, an increase in cellular metabolism, and a greater risk of infections. Despite the increased interest in this topic, there is still a need for more research, because many of such studies are limited by diverse methodological problems, such as lack of objective evaluations, clear distinction between laughter and humor, and establishment of dosage of the therapies (frequency and time). The objective of the current study is to determine the efficacy of spontaneous laughter in improving the post-operative prognosis for pediatric patients after minor surgery. Post-operative pain will be evaluated by the Visual Analog Scale, and urinary cortisol levels, duration of hospital stay, and anxiety by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children. Methods/Design: The study will be an open, randomized controlled trial, having three parallel arms: conventional post-operative management with analgesics; a second control group consisting of conventional treatment with an accompaniment that does not induce laughter; and an experimental group based on conventional treatment plus laughter therapy. Pediatric patients (6-14 years of age; n = 70 per group), hospitalized for minor surgery in a Mexico City hospital, will be randomly assigned to one of the three groups. Generalized linear models will be constructed to determine the adjusted effects of laughter therapy on the intensity of pain, anxiety, and duration of hospital stay. Discussion: To the best of our knowledge, no clinical trial to determine the effect of laughter therapy exists in which the effect of the vehicle is controlled. Here, we controlled this potential confounding factor by establishing a control group "accompaniment without laughter". As a secondary outcome variable, measurement of urinary cortisol levels will provide objective evidence to complement the subjective measurement of the pain as perceived by the patient. As a co-variable, the duration of effective laughter will provide greater robustness to this study. Trial registration: This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (identifier: NCT02563587) on 28 September 2015. Informed consent: The research protocol of this study has been approved by the Ethics Committee of the Hospital General Naval de Alta Especialidad de la Secretaría de Marina de la Armada de México (approval number: 076). This research adheres to the guidelines set forth in the NORMA Oficial Mexicana NOM-012-SSA3-2012 and in the Declaration of Helsinki.

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