Aim: To test feasibility of a guided audio-visual relaxation intervention protocol for reducing stress and pain in adults with sickle cell disease. Background: Sickle cell pain is inadequately controlled using opioids, necessitating further intervention such as guided relaxation to reduce stress and pain. Design: Attention-control, randomized clinical feasibility pilot study with repeated measures. Methods: Randomized to guided relaxation or control groups, all patients recruited between 2013-2014 during clinical visits, completed stress and pain measures via a Galaxy Internet-enabled Android tablet at the Baseline visit (pre/post intervention), 2-week posttest visit and also daily at home between the two visits. Experimental group patients were asked to use a guided relaxation intervention at the Baseline visit and at least once daily for 2 weeks. Control group patients engaged in a recorded sickle cell discussion at the Baseline visit. Data were analysed using linear regression with bootstrapping. Results: At baseline, 27/28 of consented patients completed the study protocol. Group comparison showed that guided relaxation significantly reduced current stress and pain. At the 2-week posttest, 24/27 of patients completed the study, all of whom reported liking the study. Patients completed tablet-based measures on 71% of study days (69% in control group, 72% in experiment group). At the 2-week posttest, the experimental group had significantly lower composite pain index scores, but the two groups did not differ significantly on stress intensity. Conclusion: This study protocol appears feasible. The tablet-based guided relaxation intervention shows promise for reducing sickle cell pain and warrants a larger efficacy trial. Trial registration: The ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier is: NCT02501447.
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