Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Invasive medical investigations constitute significant stressful events for many patients. Data are presented from 60 adult patients undergoing either left‐sided colonoscopy N=47 or sigmoidoscopy (N=13). Stress responses were measured by means of objective and subjective ratings and by indices of cardiovascular arousal. Eighty‐five per cent of patients rated the procedure as painful, 68 per cent reported anxiety about undergoing the procedure again, and heart‐rate was significantly elevated during the test. Experienced pain was the determining factor in the patients' perception of the stressfulness of the procedure. The colonoscopist tended to underestimate the degree of patient discomfort, and also the need for drug intervention. The results suggest that some form of premedication would help patients cope with these stressful investigations. It is clear that analgesic rather than anxiolytic premedication would be most appropriate in this population. Copyright © 1987 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Original publication




Journal article


Stress Medicine

Publication Date





301 - 305