Music may replace sedatives when treating pre-op anxiety

New research may have found that music is the perfect remedy for pre-operation anxiety.

Whilst pre-op anxiety is normal and most people experience it, treatment often involves a sedative with a multitude of side effects which can be problematic.


Study finds promising results for music to be an effective treatment for pre-op anxiety. All hail the power of ambient music!

The biggest problem with pre-operative anxiety is it’s ability to affect recovery, including wound healing. Typically, people are treated with benzodiazapenes to lower anxiety levels before anaesthesia. However this can cause a number of side effects which include short breathing, high blood pressure and mood swings. According to a new clinical trial published by Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Medication, music may be the answer, revealing very similar results to that of sedatives.

The most relaxing music is said to involve no lyrics, no significant change in tempo or rhythm and an estimated 60 beats per minute.

In the recent study, researches randomly split 157 people down the middle and one group was given an injection of benzodiazapenes three minutes before anasthesia. The other was given noise cancelling headphones. Both groups then recieved a peripheral nerve block anaesthetic that numbed a certain part of the body.

The doctors used an approved anxiety scale before and after the drug and found that the changes in pre-op anxiety in both groups to be alike. Not only that but they both expressed similar satisfaction levels.

The only downside is that music listeners reported slightly less satisfaction, however the doctors attribute this to not having the freedom to change music and listening time. The researchers found that 20 minutes is an ideal listening time to reduce anxiety.

Thus the doctors are proud to reveal that music could be an effective alternative treatment for pre-op anxiety. However further studies are necessary, they advise, to “evaluate whether or not the type of music, as well as how it is delivered, offers advantages over midazolam that outweigh the increase in communication barriers.

That being said it’s clear the time next time you get those nervous shivers reach for the closest pair of headphones and throw on your favourite ambient mix.