Some doctors play music in the waiting room to help patients relax, others tune in during surgery to help them focus.
And not just any music: Mozart.
Dr. Catherine O’Shea and Dr. David Wolf of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston randomized two endoscopists with similar skill and experience to perform screening colonoscopies while listening to a selection of music by Mozart and then perform the same number of procedures without music. One was blinded to the outcome and one was unblinded. A total of 118 procedures were reviewed.
One endoscopist was blinded to the outcome and the other was not, but both found significantly more adenomas while listening to Mozart than in silence. The adenoma detection rate for endoscopist 1, who was blinded as to outcome, was 30% without music and 67% while listening to Mozart. The rate for endoscopist 2, who was unblinded as to outcome, was 37% while listening to Mozart and 41% without music. The detection rates for both endoscopists improved over their baseline rates (21% and 27%, respectively).
A large body of research shows that detecting and removing colon polyps significantly reduces the risk of death from colon cancer, the researchers said. Therefore, adenoma detection rate is an important quality indicator for colonoscopy. “Anything we can do to get those rates up has the potential to save lives,” Dr. O’Shea said in a statement.
The study was limited by the use of only music by Mozart. Who knows what the polyp detection rate would be with Guns N’ Roses? Or a selection of show tunes? Further research is needed.
–Heidi Splete (on twitter @hsplete)