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Br J Radiol. 2012 Aug;85(1016):1059-63. doi: 10.1259/bjr/71897605. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

Music during interventional radiological procedures, effect on sedation, pain and anxiety: a randomised controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow, UK.



To assess the effects of playing patient-selected music during interventional procedures on (1) the doses of sedation and analgesia and (2) anxiety levels.


Patients undergoing interventional radiological procedures were randomised to either the intervention (music) or the control (no music) group. Patients in the intervention group had music of their choice played via headphones during the procedure. The primary outcomes were reductions in the doses of drugs for sedation (midazolam) and analgesia (fentanyl). Anxiety levels were assessed both before and after the procedure using the validated State Anxiety Inventory. Mean pulse rate and average of mean blood pressures were also recorded before and during the procedures as surrogate indicators of anxiety levels.


100 patients were randomised in a 1:1 ratio. There were 58 males and 42 females, with a mean age of 58 years. Sedation was required in 21 (42%) patients in the music group compared with 30 (60%) patients in the control group (p=0.046). The mean [standard deviation (SD)] midazolam dose was 2.1 mg (2.3 mg) in the control group and 1.3 mg (2.2 mg) in the music group (p=0.027). The mean (SD) fentanyl dose was 29 mg (40 mg) in the control group and 18 mg (34 mg) in the music group (p=0.055). There was no significant effect of music on the change from baseline in anxiety levels (p=0.74), pulse rate (p=0.56) or blood pressure (p=0.34).


Sedation requirements are significantly reduced by playing self-selected music to the patient during interventional radiology procedures. By lowering sedation during interventional radiology, music makes the procedure safer. It also contributes favourably to the overall patient experience.

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