A new study suggested that patients who need assistance to breathe through mechanical ventilation might benefit from listening to music.
The researchers found that music listening may relax patients, potentially resulting in fewer complications.
Mechanical ventilation often causes major distress and anxiety in patients. The sensation of breathlessness, frequent suctioning, inability to talk, uncertainty regarding surroundings or condition, discomfort, isolation from others, and fear all contribute to high levels of anxiety.Medications administered to reduce anxiety may lead to increased hospital stays and medical costs.
“With all these factors making mechanical ventilation a highly stressful experience, it is exciting that music may provide a way to reduce anxiety in these patients without costly side effects,” said lead researcher Joke Bradt of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
The researchers reviewed data from eight trials involving 213 patients in total. Patients, who had various conditions, including lung disease, cardiac disease and trauma injuries, all received mechanical breathing support via mouth, nose, or tracheotomy (artificial opening in the neck).
In seven trials, patients listened to pre-recorded music and in the remaining trial a trained music therapist provided live music with a tempo matched to the respiratory rate of the patient.
On average, listening to music reduced anxiety compared to standard care. It also reduced heart and breathing rates, although not blood pressure.