London | Listening to relaxing music just before an eye surgery can make patients less anxious and reduce the amount of sedation required, a new study has found.
Researchers from Cochin University Hospital in France randomly assigned 62 patients to hear relaxing music or no music through headphones for around 15 minutes just before cataract surgery, which also lasted an average 15 minutes.
All patients had the same type of surgery to make the results comparable. The music played was specifically composed to ease anxiety following strict criteria, including instrumental pieces only using a decreasing tempo and a progressive decrease in the number of instruments playing, researchers said. Each patient was able to choose from a panel of 16 recorded music styles according to their own preferences, and listened through high quality headphones.
There were various styles available, including jazz, flamenco, Cuban, classical and piano, they said. Due to the massive use of disinfectant and other liquids during surgery, headphones would have been rapidly damaged if used during the actual procedure, researchers said.
However, there is evidence that music-induced relaxation lasts around 60 minutes after the music has stopped, they said. A surgical fear questionnaire (SFQ) was used to assess anxiety before and after a music session. Overall postoperative patient satisfaction was assessed using a standardised questionnaire, researchers said.
The proportion of patients receiving the sedative midazolam during surgery was also recorded, they said. Researchers found that significant differences were noted between groups in anxiety after the music session, with anxiety significantly reduced among the music group (score 23 out of 100) compared to the non-music group (score 65 out of 100).
The music group also received significantly less sedatives during surgery (16 per cent) compared with the non-music group (32 per cent), researchers said.
Postoperative satisfaction was significantly higher in the music group (mean score 71 out of 100 versus 55 for the non-music group), they said.
Music listening may be considered as an inexpensive, non-invasive, non-pharmacological method to reduce anxiety for patients undergoing elective eye surgery under local anaesthesia, said Gilles Guerrier from Cochin University Hospital.
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