Music to prevent deliriUm during neuroSurgerY (MUSYC): A single-centre, prospective randomised controlled trial

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Delirium is a serious complication following neurosurgical procedures. We hypothesise that the beneficial effect of music on a combination of delirium-eliciting factors might reduce delirium incidence following neurosurgery and subsequently improve clinical outcomes.

Prospective randomised controlled trial.

Single centre, conducted at the neurosurgical department of the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Adult patients undergoing craniotomy were eligible.

Patients in the intervention group received preferred recorded music before, during and after the operation until day 3 after surgery. Patients in the control group were treated according to standard of clinical care.

Primary and secondary outcome measures
Primary outcome was presence or absence of postoperative delirium within the first 5 postoperative days measured with the Delirium Observation Screening Scale (DOSS) and, in case of a daily mean score of 3 or higher, a psychiatric evaluation with the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria. Secondary outcomes included anxiety, heart rate variability (HRV), depth of anaesthesia, delirium severity and duration, postoperative complications, length of stay and location of discharge.

We enrolled 189 patients (music=95, control=94) from July 2020 through September 2021. Delirium, as assessed by the DOSS, was less common in the music (n=11, 11.6%) than in the control group (n=21, 22.3%, OR:0.49, p=0.048). However, after DSM-5 confirmation, differences in delirium were not significant (4.2% vs 7.4%, OR:0.47, p=0.342). Moreover, music increased the HRV (root mean square of successive differences between normal heartbeats, p=0.012). All other secondary outcomes were not different between groups.

Our results support the efficacy of music in reducing the incidence of delirium after craniotomy, as found with DOSS but not after DSM-5 confirmation, substantiated by the effect of music on preoperative autonomic tone. Delirium screening tools should be validated and the long-term implications should be evaluated after craniotomy.

Trial registration number NL8503 and NCT04649450.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere069957
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is funded with the Erasmus Medical Center Efficiency Grant (grant number: 19105) by the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.


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