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Gastroenterol Nurs. 2012 Jul-Aug;35(4):279-84.

The impact of listening to music on analgesic use and length of hospital stay while recovering from laparotomy.

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  • 1Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.


Postoperative pain management is based on the use of analgesics; however, music may alleviate pain either by direct analgesic effects or by relaxing and distracting the mind from pain and unpleasant feelings. Conflicting results have been presented about how listening to music affects analgesic use and length of hospital stay after surgery. We assessed the effect of music listening on analgesic use, length of hospital stay, and adverse effects in adult patients having laparotomy, using a prospective design with two parallel groups. Patients undergoing elective abdominal surgery (n = 168) were assigned to either a music group (n = 83) operated on odd weeks or a control group (n = 85) operated on even weeks. The music group listened to music 7 times for 30 minutes at a time during the first 3 postoperative days. The control group did not listen to the music. The hypotheses that patients in the music group will need less analgesic, have a shorter length of hospital stay, and experience less adverse effects than those in the control group were not supported by the data, although patients recovering from surgery enjoyed listening to music. Music listening may enhance quality of hospital stay and recovery in patients undergoing major abdominal surgery and could be a useful tool to relieve the patient's pain experience.

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