The Effect of Live Classical Piano Music on the Vital Signs of Patients Undergoing Ophthalmic Surgery

Jorge G. Camara, MD; Joseph M. Ruszkowski, PhD; Sandra R. Worak, MD


Medscape J Med. 2008;10(6):149 

In This Article

Materials and Methods

A Roland Model KR-107 Digital Piano was placed in the ophthalmology operating room (OR) from May 2005 to August 2005 at the St. Francis Medical Center, where the study was conducted. [Note: *St. Francis Medical Center has recently been renamed Hawaii Medical Center East.]

A classically trained pianist who was also the study surgeon played the piano. Each patient had been informed beforehand that the surgeon would be playing relaxing classical piano music for them before they were sedated for the procedure.

The surgeon played the piano as patients were being transported into the OR from the preoperative holding area. The preoperative holding area was located in another section of the hospital beyond auditory range of the music. The patients were exposed to a random selection of music chosen from the piano pieces shown in Table 1 .

The study group consisted of the patients on which the senior author (JGC) operated during the study period ( Table 2 ).

A statistical analysis using an independent paired t-test was conducted to determine whether group 1 and group 2 were demographically similar. The results indicated that the differences in age (P = .32), MAP (P = .45), HR (P = .46), and RR (P = .49) between groups 1 and 2 were not statistically significant.

After Institutional Review Board approval (RP#07-104-2-HMC1E), the authors performed a retrospective, nonrandomized case-series study. A chart review was done to compare MAP, HR, and RR of the 115 patients undergoing various ophthalmic surgical procedures before and after exposure to the piano music (group 1). The study included only those patients having surgery for the first time. A demographically similar group of 88 consecutive patients from the senior author's practice who had had surgery in the preceding 4 months was used as the control (group 2) and was not exposed to the live piano music. The surgeon performed all procedures for both groups in the same operating room.

Two sets of measurements were taken at 2 distinct intervals in group 1 and group 2. The first set of measurements of MAP, HR, and RR were taken while the patients were in the preoperative holding area. Patients given anxiolytic medications in the preoperative holding area were excluded from the study. The second set of measurements was taken after the patients had been transported into the OR and had been exposed to at least 10 minutes of the piano music and before administration of anxiolytic medications.

Vital signs were measured in the preoperative holding area using the DINAMAP ProCare Ambulatory 300 Vital Signs Monitor (Anandic Medical Systems; Diessenhofen, Switzerland), and vital signs in the operating room were taken with the Ohmeda Modulus CD anesthesia system (Ohmeda; Kenner, Louisiana)

The MAP was calculated based on the following traditional formula: [SP + (2DP)]/3. A paired t-test was used to compare MAP, HR, and RR between the measurements taken in the preoperative holding area and those taken in the operating room for groups 1 and 2. An independent paired t-test was done to compare the data between groups 1 and 2 in the operating room. A P < .05 was considered significant.


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