Emotional difficulties can trigger respiratory symptoms. Thus, children presenting with respiratory complaints may benefit from a psychological intervention. The purpose of this study was to define the proportion of patients referred to a Pediatric Pulmonary Center who may benefit from instruction in self-hypnosis, as a psychological intervention.
A retrospective chart review was conducted for all newly referred patients to the SUNY Upstate Medical University Pediatric Pulmonary Center during an 18 month period beginning January 1, 2000. Patients were offered hypnosis if they presented with symptoms or signs suggestive of psychological difficulties. Hypnosis was taught in one or two 15–45 minute sessions by a pediatric pulmonologist.
Of 725 new referrals, 424 were 0–5 years old, 193 were 6–11 years old, and 108 were 12–18 years old. Diagnoses of anxiety, habit cough, or vocal cord dysfunction accounted for 1% of the 0–5 year olds, 20% of the 6–11 year olds, and 31% of the 12–18 year olds. Hypnotherapy was offered to 1% of 0–5 year olds, 36% of 6–11 year olds, and 55% of 12–18 year olds. Of 81 patients who received instruction in self-hypnosis for anxiety, cough, chest pain, dyspnea, or inspiratory difficulties, 75% returned for follow-up, and among the returning patients 95% reported improvement or resolution of their symptoms.
A large number of patients referred to a Pediatric Pulmonary Center appeared to benefit from instruction in self-hypnosis, which can be taught easily as a psychological intervention.