Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 197–201 | Cite as

The effect of audio therapy to treat postoperative pain in children undergoing major surgery: a randomized controlled trial

  • B. S. Sunitha Suresh
  • Gildasio S. De OliveiraJr.
  • Santhanam Suresh
Original Article



To evaluate the analgesic effect of music and audiobooks in children undergoing major surgical procedures when compared to a control (silence) group.


The study was a prospective and randomized trial. Children undergoing major surgeries were randomized to one of the three groups: music, audiobook or control (silence). The primary outcome was the pain burden reduction by two treatments within 48 h postoperatively. Pain burden was measured using the area under the pain scale versus the 30 min interval for each treatment.


60 patients were recruited and 56 completed the study. Pain burden was reduced in the music and audiobook groups compared to control, median (IQR) of −60 (−90 to 0), −45 (−90 to 0) and 0 (−30 to 90) (min × pain score), respectively, P = 0.04. A linear regression analysis demonstrated an independent group effect on pain reduction even after adjusting for the mean pain scores recorded at the beginning of the treatment, slope of regression line −56.8 ± 24 goodness of fit r 2 = 0.25 and slope significantly different from 0 (P = 0.02).


Audio therapy is an efficacious adjunct method to decrease post-surgical pain in children undergoing major surgeries. Audio therapy should be considered as an important strategy to minimize pain in children undergoing major surgery.


Music post-surgical pain Music treatment pain surgery children 



The authors would like to thank Music Theory and Cognition Professor Richard Ashley, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois for his support of the study. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Northwestern University.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. S. Sunitha Suresh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gildasio S. De OliveiraJr.
    • 1
    • 3
  • Santhanam Suresh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatric AnesthesiologyAnn & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Johns Hopkins Medical SchoolBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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