OBJECTIVES: This study sought to study the associations of noise with heart rate, blood pressure, and perceived psychological and physiological responses among post-cardiac surgery patients in ICUs. METHODS: Forty patients participated in this study after recovering from anesthesia. A sound-level meter was placed at bedsides to measure noise level for 42 hours, and patients' heart rate and blood pressure were recorded every 5 minutes. Patients were also interviewed for their perceived psychological/physiological responses. RESULTS: The average noise level was between 59.0 and 60.8 dB(A) at the study site. Annoyance and insomnia were the respective psychological and physiological responses reported most often among the patients. Although noise level, irrespective of measures, was not observed to be significantly associated with the self-assessed psychological and physiological responses, it was significantly associated with both heart rate and blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that the noise in ICUs may adversely affect the heart rate and blood pressure of patients, which warrants the attention of hospital administrators and health care workers.
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