A randomized, controlled trial of the use of music during laceration repair

James J. Menegazzi, Paul M. Paris, Cynthia H. Kersteen, Bridget Flynn, Debra E. Trautman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Study objectives: To determine whether music significantly reduces the pain and anxiety associated with laceration repair in the emergency department. Participants and setting: Adult patients presenting to the ED at an urban teaching hospital for laceration repair. Exclusion criteria included patients less than 18 years old, having received analgesics, with suspected alcohol or substance intoxication, and in whom laceration repair was complicated by treatment of a more serious medical condition. Design and interventions: This was a randomized, controlled trial. After giving informed consent, patients were randomly assigned to receive standard laceration repair without music (control) or standard laceration repair with music. Patients assigned to the music group chose an audio tape from 50 available styles and artists. Patients received the music through a headset, and they controlled the volume. Intradermal lidocaine was used in all patients. Data were collected on heart rate, blood pressure, and respirations just before and immediately after wound repair. Psychological variables included the state subscale of the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), a visual analog pain scale rating, and a brief questionnaire. STAI and pain scale ratings were analyzed with Wilcoxon's ranksum test with an α error of .05. Results: Thirty-eight patients (19 per group) completed the protocol. Pain scores were significantly (P < .05) lower in the music group (mean, 2.09) than in controls (mean, 3.31). Anxiety after the procedure was reduced in both groups, but STAI reduction scores were not significantly different between groups (music, 17.7; control, 18.5). Seventeen of 19 patients (89%) rated music "very beneficial", and 100% said they would use music again. Conclusion: Music provides a safe, inexpensive, and effective adjunct for the management of pain in the ED but does not significantly affect anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-350
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1991


  • laceration repair
  • music

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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