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The effect of recorded maternal voice on perioperative anxiety and emergence in children

Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Anesthesia and Pain Research Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


This study was performed to test if hearing a recorded maternal voice reduces anxiety, emergence agitation and anaesthetic requirements in children. With written informed consent, children scheduled for cardiac catheterisation under intravenous ketamine anaesthesia and their mothers (n=46) were randomly assigned to either the mother-voice (MV) or control group. While the MV group (n=23) listened via headphones to a recording of their mothers’ voices during the perioperative period, the control group (n=23) wore headphones with no auditory stimulation. Ketamine requirements and haemodynamics were recorded. Anxiety of the patients and the parents were measured before and after the procedure with the modified Yale preoperative anxiety scale and Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, respectively. Emergence agitation was graded. The demographic and haemodynamic data were comparable, except for a longer procedure time in the MV group. Mothers’ State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was not different preoperatively between the groups. Mothers’ state and trait anxiety was lower after the procedure in the MV group compared with the preoperative values. In the control group only maternal state anxiety was diminished after the procedure. There was no significant group difference with respect to ketamine requirement (5.1±1.9 mg vs 4.9±1.6 mg, P=0.645). The anxiety score of children was lower in the MV group before the procedure (modified Yale preoperative anxiety scale score 35±12 vs 28±9, P=0.038), but there was no significant difference postoperatively. Emergence agitation was attenuated in the MV group (P=0.005).

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