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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 10:37 GMT


Smooth operators name their tunes

Doctors enjoy something orchestral

Hospital doctors like to hear nothing better than a little classical music while they operate.

The finding comes in a poll published by Hospital Doctor newspaper.

Surgeons and other medical staff wrote in as part of a snapshot survey.

Vivaldi's Four Seasons was deemed the best piece for surgical procedures.

Musical theatre

[ image: Belinda Carlisle was among the favourites]
Belinda Carlisle was among the favourites
It was closely followed by Beethoven's Violin Concerto Opus 61, Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, Saint Saen's The Swan from the Carnival of Animals and Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.

The findings mirror the BBC drama Holby City where a cardiac surgeon always works to the strains of classical music.

However, some surgeons surveyed took an ironic view of the study and chose more modern tunes.

Sade's Smooth Operator, Heaven is a Place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle and Into The Mystic by Van Morrison all featured in the medical hit list.

And Every Breath You Take by The Police topped the charts for anaesthetists.


David Rosin on the surgical benefits of music
David Rosin, a consultant surgeon at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, said he personally favoured Vivaldi.

"It is useful to have soothing music," he said. "It is some sort of background to nice fluid movements."

He added that all the surgical team at his hospital were asked what music they wanted to play.

[ image: David Rosin: music is soothing]
David Rosin: music is soothing
Patients were generally under anaesthetic, but some were asked for their choice if they were awake.

Mr Rosin said the atmosphere in surgery had benefitted from music. In the past it could be quite "sterile".

He added that in Japan music was always played in surgery.

And he said research showed surgeons' heart rate rose when they scrubbed up.

It would be interesting to find if music brought this down, he said.

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