A randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled trial examined the benefits of taped therapeutic suggestions and taped music in coronary-artery-bypass patients. Sixty-six patients listened to either suggestion tapes or music tapes, intraoperatively and postoperatively; 29 patients listened to blank tapes intraoperatively and listened to no tapes postoperatively. Half the patients who listened to a tape found it helpful. There were no significant differences between groups in length of SICU or postoperative hospital stay, narcotic usage, nurse ratings of anxiety and progress, depression, activities of daily living, or cardiac symptoms. There were no significant differences in these same outcomes between the patients who were helped by the tapes and the patients not helped. These results suggest that if taped therapeutic suggestions have a measurable effect upon cardiac surgery patients, demonstrating this effect will require more detailed patient evaluations to identify subgroups of patients responsive to this type of intervention.