The Analgesic Properties of a Music Intervention in the Postanesthesia Care Unit

Erin Kelly-Hellyer, Anna L. Sigueza, Mara Pestritto, Maya N. Clark-Cutaia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a combined music pharmacological intervention was an effective multimodal approach to reduce adult pain in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU). Design: A prospective, randomized control trial study. Methods: Participants were recruited in the preoperative holding area on the day of surgery by the principal investigators. Music was selected by the patient following the informed consent process. Participants were randomized either to the intervention group or the control group. Patients in the intervention group received music in addition to standard pharmacological protocol while the control group received only the standard pharmacological protocol. Measured outcomes were change in visual analog pain scores and length of stay. Findings: In this cohort (N = 134), 68 participants (50.7%) received the intervention, and 66 participants (49.3%) were in the control group. Paired t tests showed that pain scores for the control group worsened by an average of 1.45-points (95% CI: 0.75, 2.15; P <.001) compared to 0.34-points in the intervention group and was not significant (P =.314) as scores went from 1 out of 10 to 1.4 out of 10. Both control and intervention groups experienced pain, with the control group's overall pain scores worsening over time. This finding was statistically significant (P =.023). No statistically significant difference was noted in the average PACU length of stay (LOS). Conclusions: The addition of music to the standard postoperative pain protocol demonstrated a lower average pain score on discharge from the PACU. The absence of a difference in LOS may be due to the confounding variables (eg, general versus spinal anesthesia or a difference in voiding time).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-767
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Perianesthesia Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • PACU
  • length of stay
  • music
  • pain management
  • perioperative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical


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