Monday, March 18, 2013

Music for stress and anxiety reduction in coronary heart disease patients

BACKGROUND: The Cochrane Collaboration is an independent organization that performs systematic reviews in order to assess the scientific validity of research findings. Music interventions have been theorized to help patients with heart disease, but no clear consensus exists.

METHODS: This systematic review looked at the effect of music interventions in patients with coronary artery disease. There were  23 trials with 1461 patients included in the evaluation. In most studies, the main intervention was simply listening to music. A trained music therapist was not utilized in the intervention group in 21 of the 23 trials.

RESULTS: Although the results were inconsistent, overall, listening to music appeared to have a moderate and positive effect on anxiety in patients with coronary heart disease. There wasn't any clear evidence for an overall reduction of psychological stress by listening to music. Listening to music, however, did appear to lower the heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. In addition, there was evidence that two or more therapeutic music sessions led to a small but consistent reduction in pain. 

CONCLUSION: listening to music appears to have a beneficial effect upon blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and pain in persons with coronary heart disease. It should be noted that the scientific evidence is not strong and the clinical impact of these findings unclear. More research is needed looking at the possible impact of using trained music therapists.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Apr 15;(2):CD006577.