Introduction: Thalassemia is the most common genetic disorder in the world. Children with major thalassemia face much lifelong stress and anxiety related to invasive methods of treatment including venipuncture and blood transfusion that cause discomfort and anxiety symptoms in children and changes their physiological indicators.
Methods: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of foot reflexology massage on vital signs and anxiety after blood transfusions in children with thalassemia. It was a quasi-experimental study, which conducted on 60 children with thalassemia who had inclusion criteria. Patients randomized into three groups of reflexology massage, regular massage, and control group. The level of anxiety in patients assessed by an anxiety measurement based on the Observational Scale of Behavioral Distress-Revised (OSBD-R) and patientsâ€™ vital signs measured 20 minutes before blood transfusion.
Results: A significant difference (p=0.0001) observed between the vital signs of children in reflexology massage group before and after the intervention. The average score for patient's anxiety before and after the intervention for reflexology massage group (p=0.003) and regular massage group (p=0.005) was significantly different, but in the control group showed no significant difference before and after the intervention (p=0.09). After the intervention, the mean score of anxiety in patients of the three groups was statistically significant (p=0.0001).
Conclusion: The results of this study confirm that foot reflexology massage affects vital signs of children with thalassemia undergoing a blood transfusion and reduces their anxiety.Â