stress in heart disease patients
Listening to music may benefit
patients who suffer severe stress and anxiety
associated with having and undergoing treatment for coronary
heart disease. A Cochrane Systematic Review found that
listening to music could decrease blood pressure, heart
rate, and levels of anxiety in heart patients.
Living with heart disease is extremely stressful. The
uncertainties and anxieties surrounding diagnosis and the
various medical procedures involved in treatment can
significantly worsen the condition. For example, stress can
increase blood pressure, leading to increased risk of
complications. Music listening may help to alleviate stress
and therefore reduce this risk.
"Our findings suggest music listening may be beneficial for
heart disease patients," says Joke Bradt, who works at the
Arts and Quality of Life Research Center at Temple
University in Philadelphia. "But the trials we looked at
were generally small and varied in terms of styles of music
used and length of music sessions. More research on the
specifics of music listening is certainly warranted."
The researchers reviewed data from 23 studies, which
together included 1,461 patients. Two studies focused on
patients treated by trained music therapists, but most did
not, using instead interventions where patients listened to
pre-recorded music on CDs offered by healthcare
Listening to music provided some relief for coronary heart
disease patients suffering from anxiety, by reducing heart
rate and blood pressure. There was also some indication that
music listening improved mood, although no improvement was
seen for patients suffering from depression due to the
"We all know that music can impact on our emotions, our
physiological responses, as well as our outlook on life,
and this early research shows that it is well worth finding
out more about how it could help heart disease patients. In
particular, it would be interesting to learn more about the
potential benefits of music offered by trained music
therapists, which may be differ substantially from those
associated with pre-recorded music," says Bradt.
Wiley-Blackwell 04 09
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