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Heart Research


The following information is in reference to Chapter 9, page 129 of The Power Of Sound.

“Soothing music can increase oxytocin levels during bed rest after open-heart surgery: a randomised control trial.” Given that the use of music has been evaluated as appropriate nursing intervention to reduce patients ‘pain, stress and anxiety levels in several clinical settings, the aim of this 2009 randomised controlled trial was to evaluate the effect of bed rest with music on relaxation for patients who have undergone heart surgery on the first postfirst post-operative day. Forty patients undergoing open coronary artery bypass grafting and/or aortic valve replacement surgery were randomly allocated to either music listening during bed rest or bed rest only. Relaxation was assessed by determining the plasma oxytocin, heart rate, mean arterial blood pressure, subjective relaxation levels, and other methods.

Results: In the music group, levels of oxytocin increased significantly in contrast to the control group for which the trend over time was negative i.e., decreasing values. Subjective relaxation levels also increased significantly. There was no difference in mean arterial blood pressure or heart rate between the groups. Conclusion: Listening to music during bed rest after open-heart surgery has some effects on the relaxation system as regards s-oxytocin and subjective relaxations levels. Relevance To Clinical Practice: Music intervention should be offered as an integral part of the multimodal regime administered to the patients that have undergone cardiovascular surgery. It is a supportive source that increases relaxation. 78 relaxation.78

“Music for stress and anxiety reduction in coronary heart disease patients.” The following report, published in 2009, is a meta-analysis of 23 controlled trials with a total of 1461 participants. The authors of this report are Joke Bradt and Cheryl Dileo. 79 Cheryl Dileo.79

Summary:“Individuals with coronary heart disease often suffer from severe distress putting them at greater risk for complications, including sudden cardiac death. The findings of this review suggest that music listening may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and heart rate in people with coronary heart disease. Music listening also appears to be effective in reducing anxiety in myocardial infarction patients. No evidence for anxiety-reducing effects of music was found for patients undergoing cardiac procedures. This may be due to the fact that anxiety was measured after the completion of the procedure rather than during it. Music listening may also reduce pain and respiratory rate, however the magnitude of these effects is small and the quality of the evidence is not strong. Therefore, its clinical importance is unclear. No evidence of effect was found for depression, heart rate variability, or peripheral skin temperature. Inconsistent results were found for mood. However, only a small number of trials investigated the effects of music on these outcomes. More research is needed. The vast majority of the studies examined the effects of patients’ listening to pre-recorded music. More research is needed on the effects of music offered by a trained music therapist.


Background: Individuals with coronary heart disease (CHD) often suffer from severe distress putting them at greater risk fo complications. Music interventions have been used to reduce anxiety and distress and improve physiological functioning in medical patients, however its efficacy for CHD patients needs to be evaluated.

Main results: Twenty-three trials (1461 participants) were included. Music listening was the main intervention used, and 21 of the studies did not include a trained music therapist. Results indicated that music listening has a moderate effect on anxiety in patients with CHD, however results were inconsistent across studies. This review did not find strong evidence for reduction of psychological distress. Findings indicated that listening to music reduces heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Studies that included two or more music sessions led to a small and consistent pain-reducing effect. No strong evidence was found for peripheral skin temperature. None of the studies considered hormone levels and only one study considered quality of life as an outcome variable.

Authors’ conclusions: Music listening may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and pain in persons with CHD. However, the quality of the evidence is not strong and the clinical significance unclear. Most studies examined the effects of listening to pre-recorded music. More research is needed on the effects of music offered by a trained music therapist. .80 therapist.80

“Music listening enhances cognitive recovery and mood after middle cerebral artery stroke.” The potential role of music in neurological rehabilitation has not been systematically investigated. This single-blind, randomized, and controlled trial from Finland was designed to determine whether everyday music listening can facilitate the recovery of cognitive functions and mood after stroke.

In the acute recovery phase, 60 patients with a left or right hemispheremiddle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke were randomly assigned to a music group, a language

group, or a control group. During the following two months, the music and language groups listened daily to self-selected music or audio books, respectively, while the control group received no listening material. In addition, all patients received standard medical care and rehabilitation. All patients underwent an extensive neuropsychological assessment, which included a wide range of cognitive tests as well as mood and quality of life questionnaires, one week (baseline), 3 months, and 6 months after the stroke. Fifty-four patients completed the study.

Results, published in 2008, showed that recovery in the domains of verbal memory and focused attention improved significantly more in the music group than in the language and control groups. The music group also experienced less depressed and confused mood than the control group. These findings demonstrate for the first time that music listening during the early post-stroke stage can enhance cognitive recovery and prevent negative mood. 81 negative mood.81

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