Intraoperative Music to Promote Patient Outcome (IMPROMPTU): A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

Victor X. Fu*, Sjoerd M. Lagarde, Christian T. Favoccia, Joos Heisterkamp, Annemarie E. van Oers, Peter Paul L.O. Coene, Josèph S.H.A. Koopman, Sjoerd A.A. van den Berg, Willem A. Dik, Johannes Jeekel, Bas P.L. Wijnhoven

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction: Perioperative music can have beneficial effects on postoperative pain, anxiety, opioid requirement, and the physiological stress response to surgery. The aim was to assess the effects of intraoperative music during general anesthesia in patients undergoing surgery for esophagogastric cancer. Materials and methods: The IMPROMPTU study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized multicenter trial. Adult patients undergoing surgery for stage II-III esophagogastric cancer were eligible. Exclusion criteria were a hearing impairment, insufficient Dutch language knowledge, corticosteroids use, or objection to hearing unknown music. Patients wore active noise-cancelling headphones intraoperatively with preselected instrumental classical music (intervention) or no music (control). Computerized randomization with centralized allocation, stratified according to surgical procedure using variable block sizes, was employed. Primary endpoint was postoperative pain on the first postoperative day. Secondary endpoints were postoperative pain during the first postoperative week, postoperative opioid requirement, intraoperative medication requirement, the stress response to surgery, postoperative complication rate, length of stay, and mortality, with follow-up lasting 30 d. Results: From November 2018 to September 2020, 145 patients were assessed and 83 randomized. Seventy patients (music n = 31, control n = 39) were analyzed. Median age was 70 [IQR 63–70], and 48 patients (69%) were male. Music did not reduce postoperative pain (numeric rating scale 1.8 (SD0.94) versus 2.0 (1.0), mean difference −0.28 [95% CI -0.76–0.19], P = 0.236). No statistically significant differences were seen in medication requirement, stress response, complication rate, or length of stay. Conclusions: Intraoperative, preselected, classical music during esophagogastric cancer surgery did not significantly improve postoperative outcome and recovery when compared to no music using noise-cancelling headphones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-301
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

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