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Interventions using unassisted music listening before surgery

Many studies have been conducted that demonstrate the effects of unassisted music listening on a personís anxiety level in the surgical area. Veerheecke & Troch (1980) found that listening to sedative background music in the waiting room before surgery helped 52.2% of the patients feel less anxious, with 22.3% reporting feeling neutral, 22.3% not noticing the music and 3.2% reporting a negative reaction to the music. In another study, Daub & Kirschner-Hermanns (1988) compared the effects of music, thalamonal and no premedication on reduction of preoperative anxiety. Results indicated that subjects who received no medication and no music listening before surgery showed a consistent level of anxiety from pre- to post-tests as measured by the STAI and the Erlanger-Angst-Skala (EAS) test. Subjects who received thalamonal one hour before surgery had an increase of anxiety over this period caused by the induction of medication. And subjects who listened to music 45 minutes before surgery exhibited a reduction in anxiety from pre- to post-test measures. Differences between the thalamonal group and the music group were significant at the P<.01 level. Researchers concluded that matching the music to each individualís preference was a very important factor and that satisfaction with the music depended on the personsí personality and attitude toward music. In a similar study, Gaberson (1995) had subjects, who were scheduled for elective surgery, listen to 20-minutes of a humorous tape or 20-minutes of preselected sedative music. She found no significant differences between the groups in levels of anxiety from pre- to post-tests as measured by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Several patients reported they would have preferred being given a choice between listening to music or listening to a humorous tape.

Three studies using unassisted music listening specifically tested for physiological responses to anxiety due to surgery. The first study by Augustin & Hains (1996) found subjects who listened to music before surgery showed a significant decrease in blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rate. This group also demonstrated a significant decrease in state-level anxiety as measured by the STAI. Subjects who did not listen to music showed a decrease in systolic blood pressure and respiration rate with no significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure, heart rate or STAI measures. The second study by Winter, Paskin & Baker (1994) used music listening in the holding area to study the preoperational anxiety levels of patients scheduled for outpatient surgery. Patients who listened to sedative music in the holding area showed a decrease in state-anxiety from pre- to post-test (P<.002) as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Subjects in the control group showed an increase in state-anxiety over this time. No significant differences were found in either group in regards to blood pressure and heart rates. All subjects in the experimental group recommended that taped music be made available for future patients. The third study by Updike & Charles (1987) compared blood pressure, mean arterial pressure (MAP) and double product index (DPI) on all patients before and after listening to music prior to surgery. After music listening, every physiological measure decreased in value at the P<.001 level of significance. Patients also expressed feeling more relaxed after listening to sedative music.

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Contents: The effect of music interventions in the surgical setting on patients' level of anxiety

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This page was last updated December 30, 2004
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