Aromatherapy for postoperative nausea and vomiting

Hines, Sonia Jane (2012) Aromatherapy for postoperative nausea and vomiting. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Background: Postoperative nausea and vomiting is one of the most common adverse reactions to surgery and all types of anaesthesia and despite the wide variety of available antiemetic and anti-nausea treatments, 20-30% of all patients still suffer moderate to severe nausea and vomiting following general anaesthesia. While aromatherapy is well-known and is used personally by nurses, it is less well utilised in the healthcare setting. If aromatherapy is to become an accepted adjunct treatment for postoperative nausea and vomiting, it is imperative that there is both an evidence base to support the use of aromatherapy, and a nursing workforce prepared to utilise it.

Methods: This involved a Cochrane Systematic Review, a Delphi process to modify an existing tool to assess beliefs about aromatherapy to make it more relevant to nursing and midwifery practice, and a survey to test the modified tool in a population of nurses and midwives.

Findings: The systematic review found that aromatherapy with isopropyl alcohol was more effective than placebo for reducing the number of doses of rescue antiemetics required but not more effective than standard antiemetic drugs.

The Delphi panel process showed that the original Beliefs About Aromatherapy Scale was not completely relevant to nursing and midwifery practice. The modified Nurses' Beliefs About Aromatherapy Scale was found to be valid and reliable to measure nurses' and midwives' beliefs about aromatherapy. Factor analysis supported the construct validity of the scale by finding two sub-scales measuring beliefs about the 'usefulness of aromatherapy' and the 'scientific basis of aromatherapy'. Survey respondents were found to have generally positive beliefs about aromatherapy, with more strongly positive beliefs on the 'usefulness of aromatherapy' sub-scale.

Conclusions: From the evidence of the systematic review, the use of isopropyl alcohol vapour inhalation as an adjunct therapy for postoperative nausea and vomiting is unlikely to be harmful and may reduce nausea for some adult patients. It may provide a useful therapeutic option, particularly when the alternative is no treatment at all.

Given the moderately positive beliefs expressed by nurses and midwives particularly about the usefulness of aromatherapy there is potential for this therapy to be implemented and used to improve patient care.

Impact and interest:

13 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

1,475 since deposited on 27 May 2013
454 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 60245
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Chang, Anne M. & Yates, Patsy M.
Keywords: aromatherapy, beliefs, complementary therapy, evidence based practice, nursing care, postoperative nausea and vomiting, postoperative care, systematic review
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 27 May 2013 02:38
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015 01:02

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page