Music versus midazolam during preoperative nerve block placements: a prospective randomized controlled study

Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2019 Jul 18:rapm-2018-100251. doi: 10.1136/rapm-2018-100251. Online ahead of print.


Background and objectives: Music medicine is a non-pharmacologic intervention that is virtually harm-free, relatively inexpensive and has been shown to significantly decrease preoperative anxiety. In this study we aim to compare the use of music to midazolam as a preoperative anxiolytic prior to the administration of an ultrasound-guided single-injection peripheral nerve block.

Methods: In this randomized controlled study we compared the anxiolytic effects of intravenous midazolam (1-2 mg) with noise-canceling headphone-delivered music medicine. All patients received a preoperative ultrasound-guided single-injection peripheral nerve block indicated for a primary regional anesthetic or postoperative analgesia.

Results: The change in the State Trait Anxiety Inventory-6 (STAI-6) anxiety scores from after to before the procedure were similar in both groups (music group -1.6 (SD 10.7); midazolam group -4.2 (SD 11); p=0.14; mean difference between groups -2.5 (95% CI -5.9 to 0.9), p=0.1). Patient satisfaction scores with their procedure experience were higher in the midazolam group (p=0.01); however, there were no differences in physician satisfaction scores of their procedure experience between groups (p=0.07). Both patient and physician perceptions on difficulties in communication were higher in the music group than in the midazolam group (p=0.005 and p=0.0007, respectively).

Conclusions: Music medicine may be offered as an alternative to midazolam administration prior to peripheral regional anesthesia. However, further studies are warranted to evaluate whether or not the type of music, as well as how it is delivered, offers advantages over midazolam that outweigh the increase in communication barriers.

Clinical trial registry: #NCT03069677.

Keywords: music medicine; music therapy; nerve blocks; preoperative anxiety; regional anesthesia.

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