The Bihar Post

A Bihar doctor who plays music at the operation theatre to perform heart surgeries


PATNA: Ever heard of complicated heart surgeries being conducted at the beat of music in the rather tense-looking operation theatre? Sounds bizarre but a doctor in Bihar has been doing only just that.

Believe it or not, Dr Ajit Kumar Pradhan, chief cardiovascular surgeon at Patna’s famed Jeevak Heart Hospital and Research Institute, picks up forceps and surgical blades in his hands until the music has been played in the operation theatre. Rather, this is the most peculiar style of Dr Pradhan to perform surgery on patients. The more complicated the surgeries, the louder the volume of the music.

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Music, to be more precise classical notes, has helped Dr Pradhan better focus his attention on surgeries and its outcome has been tremendous with low mortality morbidity and no patient in the past five years reporting any deep sterna wound infection. In the past 18 years since he set up the first high-tech heart institute of Bihar in 1998, Dr Pradhan has conducted around 6,000 open heart and bypass surgeries in this unique style at the hospital.

“Here surgeries begin with music and end with music. I feel disturbances without music,” says Dr Pradhan, holding forceps in his blood-stained gloved hands. Stating that he is used to this bran of surgeries, he claims his concentration level goes higher once he listens to music.

“Research suggests that playing music in surgical holding areas significantly reduces anxiety and stress,”  explains Dr Pradhan who has studied the effect of music on patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting at his hospital of which he is the also the Managing Director. Music therapy, he states, may not be an exact science but it does affect one of our prime senses.

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“Listening to appropriate music, lowers Blood Pressures, stabilizes heart rate, relieves depression, reduces pre-treatment anxiety, lessens the need for sedatives and pain killers (during and after surgery), reduces nausea after chemotherapy and improve stability of people with Parkinson’s disease”, he asserts peeping through the loupe he wears on his head.

[/media-credit] Doctors operating a patient at a operation theatre in Patna at the beat of music

He adds the heart beat is a rhythmic beat which denotes base of music, hence there is an integral relation between life and music, and cessation of one leads to the end of the other. “It’s my emphatic belief that celestial beat of the heart is linked intrinsically with the spiritual sound of the creator. I have always relied on Hindustani classical vocal music and classical-based bhajans (religious songs) to assist me in successfully carrying out heart surgeries that I do, as subconsciously the music becomes a part of the process of intervention and healing, to the process of life, ie the heart of a human being,” he feels.

Recounting his memories, he says when he first introduced music at the operation theatre, just every staff got nervous saying it would disturb their concentration but now everyone is used to it. “Now, music has become an integral part of our life. We feel relaxed at work and hence have been using music in 98 percent cases of surgeries,” says Dr Pradeep Jha, chief cardiac clinical perfusionist at the hospital responsible for extracorporeal oxygenation of the blood during open-heart surgery and for the operation and maintenance of equipment (as a heart-lung machine) controlling it. A normal heart surgery lasts for some six to eight hours and even beyond that.


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