Dreaming under anesthesia: Is it a real possiblity? Investigation of the effect of preoperative imagination on the quality of postoperative dream recalls

Judit Gyulaházi, Pál Redl, Zsolt Karányi, Katalin Varga, Béla Fülesdi

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Background: Images evoked immediately before the induction of anesthesia by means of suggestions may influence dreaming during anesthesia. This study is a retrospective re-evaluation of the original prospective randomized trial. Methods: Dream reports were studied in two groups. In group 1. dreams of patients who received suggestions, and in group 2, those of the control group of patients who did not. The incidence of dream reports and the characteristics and the theme of the reported dreams were compared among the groups. Results: In general, the control and the psychological intervention groups were different in terms of dreaming frequency, and non-recall dreaming. The incidence of dream reports was significantly higher in the suggestion group (82/190 at 10 min and 71/190 at 60 min respectively) than in the control group (16/80 at 10 min and 13/80 at 60 min, respectively; p10 = 0.001 and p60 = 0.002). There were no differences in the nature (thought- like or cinematic), quality (color or B&W) and the mood (positive vs. negative) of the recalled dreams. In general, the contents of the imaginary favorite place and the reported dream were identical in 73.2 %. Among the topics most successfully applied in the operating theater were loved ones (83.8 %), holiday (77.8 %) and sport (63.6 %). Conclusion: The results of the present study suggest that dreams during anesthesia are influenced by suggestions administered immediately preceding anesthesia. Trial registration: The study was registered in ClinicalTrials.gov. Identifier: Q1 NCT01839201 , Date: 12 Apr. 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
JournalBMC anesthesiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2 2016



  • Anesthesia
  • Dreaming
  • Imagination
  • Suggestion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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