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Madigan Army Medical Center (2012) – A prospective, randomized study of aromatherapy effectiveness for PONV relief

In a study conducted by Madigan Healthcare System, QueaseEASE® users showed a statistically significant decrease in nausea, and a significantly higher perception of treatment effectiveness.

AUTHOR(S): Hodge, N., Pierce, R., McCarthy, M., Feider, L., Center for Nursing Science & Clinical Inquiry, and Sumner, C., Medical-Surgical Nursing Unit.

DATE PUBLISHED: December 2012



Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is the number one concern for patients having surgery under general anesthesia; it causes subjective distress, along with increased complications and delays in hospital discharge. Aromatherapy represents an alternative and complementary therapy for the management of PONV.


To study the effectiveness of aromatherapy for PONV in postoperative patients admitted to the surgical unit for at least 24 hours.


A prospective, randomized two-group design with the treatment group receiving an aromatic inhaler (QueaseEASE®) and the control group receiving a placebo inhaler. Patients were recruited from the Surgical Services Center, enrolled 1-5 days prior to surgery, and received the study intervention with the first complaint of nausea. The self-administered inhaler was used as an immediate treatment for nausea. Patients completed two Likert-type scales rating nausea at baseline after three minutes, and questionnaires addressing satisfaction with nausea treatment and perceived effectiveness of aromatherapy.


Of 339 enrolled patients, 121 patients experienced PONV; 25 patients were lost to attrition. A change score was computed for the initial and follow-up nausea assessment scores. Nausea scores in both the treatment group and the placebo group decreased significantly, p < .01 and p <.01 respectively, and there was a significant difference between the two groups, p = .03. Satisfaction with overall management of PONV was high regardless of group. Perceived effectiveness of aromatherapy was significantly higher in the treatment group, p=.02.


Aromatherapy was favorably received by most patients and represents an effective treatment option for postoperative nausea.

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