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April 12, 1995

Cardiovascular Reactivity Among Surgeons: Not Music to Everyone's Ears

Author Affiliations

Children's Memorial Hospital Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1995;273(14):1090. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520380026022

To the Editor.  —We read with interest the article by Drs Allen and Blascovich.1 This article suggests that surgeon-selected music has a performance-enhancing effect. The surgeon participants in this report were studied in "a soundproof hospital research laboratory." While we applaud enhanced stress reduction in surgeons, we question whether the operating theater is always an appropriate setting for this experience!The practice of anesthesia has often been compared with a pilot's tasks during a transcontinental flight. Between takeoff and landing, there may be long periods, even hours, of tedious vigilance punctuated by moments of terror. Proper patient vigilance during anesthesia requires not only continuous visual inspection of patient and monitors but also filtration of multiple auditory signals, including auscultated heart tones, pulse oximetry tones, and multiple alarms (eg, inspired oxygen concentration, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and tidal volume) and communications with the surgical and nursing staff. Communication

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