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Psychosom Med. 2001 May-Jun;63(3):487-92.

Normalization of hypertensive responses during ambulatory surgical stress by perioperative music.

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State University of New York at Buffalo and Kaleida Health System, 14209, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether cognitive appraisals of stress level and hypertensive responses to ambulatory ophthalmic surgery can be ameliorated by patient-selected music.


We studied 40 elderly individuals requiring ophthalmic surgery, 20 in an experimental group (mean age, 74 years) and 20 in a control group (mean age, 77 years). All patients had an established resting blood pressure <140/90 mm Hg. In the experimental group self-selected music was provided by headphones throughout the preoperative, surgical, and postoperative periods. In the control group patients had neither headphones nor music. All patients received similar (weight-determined) doses of alfentanil and midazolam during surgery. Heart rate, blood pressure, and patient-reported stress and coping levels were the dependent variables.


In both groups, blood pressure values were normal (approximately 129/82 mm Hg) during screening examinations 1 week before surgery. On the day of surgery both groups displayed increased preoperative blood pressures (approximately 159/92 mm Hg) associated with increases in heart rate (by approximately 17 beats/min). Intraoperative blood pressures in the experimental group returned quickly to screening baseline values, whereas the control group experienced persistent elevations in intraoperative blood pressure similar to preoperative levels. Over the course of the surgical experience, patients with music reported significant reductions in perceived stress and increases in coping abilities (p < .001), whereas those without music did not.


The perceived stress of ambulatory surgery in geriatric patients is associated with a clinical hypertensive response that is ameliorated by self-selected perioperative music, which also decreases perceived stress and increases patients' sense of personal control and well-being.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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