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Informed consent in endoscopic sinus surgery: the patient perspective.
Department of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
The Laryngoscope 2005;115(3):492-4.
OBJECTIVES: To understand patient expectations during the informed consent process for functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). STUDY DESIGN: Multi-institutional, cross-sectional survey design. METHODS: Anonymous surveys were administered to patients in two tertiary academic centers with a chief complaint relating to "allergy and sinus" problems. Patients completed an eight-item questionnaire that assessed both the nature and the level of risks that they wished to be informed of prior to FESS. RESULTS: Three hundred eighty-nine surveys were returned. Sixty-nine percent of patients wished to be informed of complications that occur as infrequently as 1 in 100 cases, regardless of severity. Ninety percent of patients wanted to know of a risk that occurred as frequently as 1 in 10 cases. Patients also reported whether or not they wished to be told in detail about specific complications during the informed consent process, regardless of their infrequency. Affirmative responses were as follows: 83% for cerebrospinal fluid leak and orbital injury, 81% for infection, 76% for revision surgery, 74% for impairment of smell, 73% for bleeding and myocardial infarction, 72% for cerebrovascular accident, and 58% for scarring. CONCLUSIONS: Patients wanted to be informed about severe FESS complications at a higher rate than physicians previously surveyed, even if the incidence is low. This study, combined with our previous examination of the physicians' perspective, highlights that there may be a discrepancy between what the physician and the patient believe are priority topics during the informed consent process.
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