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Randomized clinical trial examining the effect of music therapy in stress response to day surgery. BJS 2007; 94: 943-947.

Published: 16th July 2007

Authors: S. Leardi, R. Pietroletti, G. Angeloni, S. Necozione, G. Ranalletta, B. Del Gusto et al.


Music therapy could reduce stress and the stress response. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of music therapy in alleviating stress during day surgery.


Sixty patients undergoing day surgery were randomized to one of three groups, each containing 20 patients. Before and during surgery, patients in group 1 listened to new age music and those in group 2 listened to a choice of music from one of four styles. Patients in group 3 (control group) heard the normal sounds of the operating theatre. Plasma levels of cortisol and subpopulations of lymphocytes were evaluated before, during and after operation.


Plasma cortisol levels decreased during operation in both groups of patients who listened to music, but increased in the control group. Postoperative cortisol levels were significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (mean(s.d.) 14·21(6·96) versus 8·63(2·72) ng/dl respectively; P < 0·050). Levels of natural killer lymphocytes decreased during surgery in groups 1 and 2, but increased in controls. Intraoperative levels of natural killer cells were significantly lower in group 1 than in group 3 (mean(s.d.) 212·2(89·3) versus 329·1(167·8) cells/µl; P < 0·050).


Perioperative music therapy changed the neurohormonal and immune stress response to day surgery, especially when the type of music was selected by the patient. Copyright © 2007 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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