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Does music harm patients after cardiac surgery? A randomized, controlled study

P. Iblher, H. Mahler, H. Heinze, M. Hüppe, K.-F. Klotz, W. Eichler
[Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology 15: 14-23, 2011]


Background: Positive effects of music on the state of mood as well as on anxiety, pain and physiological measures were described for the postoperative setting on the ICU.
Objectives: To examine the influence of a music intervention in the early postoperative period on patients undergoing open heart surgery.
Methods: We examined 126 patients undergoing open cardiac surgery, randomly assigned to one of five groups: 1) Music intervention transmitted by a closed headphone for 60 minutes immediately after arrival on the ICU, 2) Like (1) but only headphone without music, 3) Music intervention transmitted by a closed headphone for 60 minutes immediately after discontinuation of sedation, 4) like (3) but only headphone without music 5) Control without headphone or music. Music intervention was provided by a conventional CD player. For the self assessment of postoperative complaints and patient satisfaction we used the Anaesthesiological Questionaire (ANP2). Furthermore blood pressure, heart rate and infused catecholamines, peripheral saturation and consumption on opiod analgesics were recorded.
Results: We found no difference between the five groups. In the analysis of variance for the factor music there was a significant increase of pain in the operated area, thirst, nausea and remembrance of the postoperative period with music in the ANP (p<0.05 respectively). For the factor early versus late intervention we found a significant improvement of pain in the operated area, discomfort and satisfaction within the perioperative course (p<0.05 respectively) when intervention was applied early. There was neither a combined effect of both factors nor differences between further recorded data.
Conclusions: Music intervention seems to pronounce typical perioperative complaints in this setting. This might be explained by an intensified awareness of the situation on the ICU. The difference between early and late intervention may indicate the importance of a sufficient noise protection even during continuous sedation of the patient.

Key words:  intensive care, music, cardiac surgery, postoperative complaints, accoustic shielding

Correspondence address:
Peter Iblher, M.D., MME
Department of Anaesthesiology
University of Lübeck Medical School
Ratzeburger Allee 160
23538 Lübeck
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