Previous studies have shown that patients who listen to music during surgery under regional anesthesia require less intraoperative sedation. But is this because music has a positive effect or simply because distressing intraoperative noise is muted? To find out, researchers at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., randomly assigned 80 adult patients to three groups. One group listened to operating room noise, another wore headphones and listened to their choice of music, and the third wore headphones and listened to white noise.
All patients underwent urologic procedures with spinal anesthesia and patient-controlled intravenous propofol sedation. Propofol is a sedative-hypnotic drug that can be used for both induction and maintenance of anesthesia.
Patients who listened to music used less propofol than those who listened to operating room noises or white noise; patients in the latter groups had similar sedative requirements. Based on these findings, the researchers recommend encouraging patients to take their favorite CDs to the surgical suite.