Researchers at San Francisco General Hospital recently published a study that found patients on mechanical ventilation required lower doses of sedatives when they listened to classical music, according to an Anesthesiology News report.

The researchers conducted the pilot study in five patients undergoing ventilation in the ICU after general surgery or trauma. The researchers recorded patient vital signs and the level of sedation and analgesia the patients received for an hour. Each patient then listened to classical music for two hours, while the researchers gradually reduced the dose of sedation.

By the end of the two-hour period, the patients needed approximately 33 percent less sedation than they had prior to the classical music. According to the report, the effect of the music treatment persisted for at least an hour after the experiment ended.

I read it here.


  1. Interesting, but I wonder what the patient’s affinity for classical music was before surgery and what, indeed, constituted ‘classical’ music.

    Hopefully not the Pachelbell canon…

  2. Yep, I was thinking “Gee, I hope it’s not really boring, mindless, “sleep to the classics” sort of stuff,” Bob!

  3. patti with an i

    Gee, maybe KDFC (in its previous incarnation) had it right after all. I always detested their “classical music as anesthesia” ad campaign… you know, the one where they said “hey, we’re the perfect radio station to have on in the background at work ’cause we play music you don’t have to pay attention to”… who knew?

  4. Heh … yeah, guess they knew what they were talking about, eh?

    I do wonder … if the music is calming the patient, how’s that surgeon doing? Snoring? Hmm.