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Music May Help Ease the Pain of Surgery

Low-cost intervention has potential to reduce patient anxiety

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Using music therapy in a perioperative setting may distract patients from their pain and reduce their levels of anxiety, according to study findings published in the April issue of the AORN Journal.

Ulrica Nilsson, R.N.A., Ph.D., of Orebro University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, conducted a meta-analysis of 42 randomized controlled trials that studied the impact of music in perioperative settings, typically through the use of headphones.

Approximately half of the studies demonstrated an association between music therapy and a reduction in patient anxiety and pain. In addition, music intervention was associated with a reduction in the use of sedatives and analgesics. Other effects of music were noted, such as a reduction in heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and blood cortisol levels. When different styles and tempos of music were interspersed with two minutes of silence, patients' respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure levels dropped below those at baseline.

"During perioperative care, soothing and relaxing music can be used as audioanalgesia, audioanxiolytic, or audiorelaxation as an integral part of the multimodal regimen administered to patients. Providing music to patients is an inexpensive technique that does not require extra staff members or expensive equipment," the author writes. "A new challenge would be to study whether there is any benefit to patients of using an audio pillow to provide…an adjustable, patient-focused sound environment without shutting out the external world."

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