STUDY: Music Could Be a Post-Op Panacea

Music is powerful, it helps use relax, it helps us sleep, it helps us remember, it helps us focus. In fact it is often used by surgeons during surgery. But researchers may have found a new way to use music; and that is to reduce patients’ anxiety and postoperative pain.

A team from the Netherlands found that the simple act of listening to music around the time of surgery may help patients as they recover.

They looked at 16 studies which included almost 1,000 patients, and about 90% of the procedures involved coronary artery bypass grafts and/or heart valve replacement. A majority of the time the type of music used was relaxing and did not have strong rhythms or percussion, the researchers noted. The choice of music varied; sometimes it was from the patients’ own playlists, but other times it was from preselected playlists or chosen by their doctor. In comparison groups patients received a mix of other options, such as scheduled rest, breathing exercises, or headphones without music.

The analysis showed that listening to music did seem to significantly reduce patients’ anxiety and pain after major heart surgery. Several days of listening to music also reduced anxiety for up to eight days after surgery, according to the study.

It did not, however, take the place of other care, or shorten their hospital stay. But less anxiety and pain makes for easier healing.

This new research, published Jan. 25 in the online journal Open Heart.

It suggests that if you have to go in for surgery, then having music you enjoy to listen to afterward may be a great benefit to your recovery.


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