Effect of positioning on back pain after coronary angiography

Sek Ying Chair, Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae, Gay Lam, Sophia Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background. Coronary angiography is a routine cardiac diagnostic procedure in Hong Kong. Patients are restricted to bedrest after the procedure due to potential vascular complications from using a femoral approach. Many patients are required to remain on bedrest for up to 24 hours after the procedure. The effects of reducing this bedrest time is still under investigation. In the meantime, nursing interventions aimed at decreasing patient discomfort due to prolonged bedrest are feasible to implement. Aims. The aims of this study were to evaluate the severity of back pain related to bedrest duration after coronary angiography and to compare the effects of changing patients' position in bed on their perceptions of back pain and on vascular complications. Methods. An experimental design was used, with patients randomly assigned either to a control or experimental group. The control group received the usual care, remaining supine and flat for 8-24 hours, with the affected leg straight. The experimental group changed their body position hourly, varying between supine, right side-lying, and left side-lying during the first 7 hours after coronary angiography. Results. A total of 419 patients participated in the study (control, n = 213; experimental, n = 206). Regardless of group assignment, back pain intensity increased with longer time on bedrest. In addition, the control group reported higher levels of pain at all five assessment times. Vascular complications in terms of bleeding at the femoral site were not significantly different between the control and experimental groups. Conclusion. The study findings suggest that patients may be able safely to change their position in bed earlier in the postcoronary angiography period than currently recommended in practice protocols. Changing position in bed may also reduce back pain, promote physical comfort, and possibly reduce patients' negative feelings toward coronary angiography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-478
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of advanced nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Back pain
  • Chinese
  • Coronary angiography
  • Nursing
  • Positioning
  • Vascular complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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