Post-operative benefits of animal-assisted therapy in pediatric surgery: A randomised study

Valeria Calcaterra, Pierangelo Veggiotti, Clara Palestrini, Valentina De Giorgis, Roberto Raschetti, Massimiliano Tumminelli, Simonetta Mencherini, Francesca Papotti, Catherine Klersy, Riccardo Albertini, Selene Ostuni, Gloria Pelizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Interest in animal-assisted therapy has been fuelled by studies supporting the many health benefits. The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact of an animal-assisted therapy program on children response to stress and pain in the immediate post-surgical period. Patients and Methods: Forty children (3-17 years) were enrolled in the randomised open-label, controlled, pilot study. Patients were randomly assigned to the animal-assisted therapy-group (n = 20, who underwent a 20 min session with an animal-assisted therapy dog, after surgery) or the standard-group (n = 20, standard postoperative care). The study variables were determined in each patient, independently of the assigned group, by a researcher unblinded to the patient's group. The outcomes of the study were to define the neurological, cardiovascular and endocrinological impact of animal-assisted therapy in response to stress and pain. Electroencephalogram activity, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, cerebral prefrontal oxygenation, salivary cortisol levels and the faces pain scale were considered as outcome measures. Results: After entrance of the dog faster electroencephalogram diffuse beta-activity (> 14 Hz) was reported in all children of the animal-assisted therapy group; in the standard-group no beta-activity was recorded (100% vs 0%, p

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0125813
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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