Art, Music, DanceCochrane LibraryHeart Disease

Music therapy for patients with heart disease?

Some changes are reported.

But from a practical perspective, the benefits of music are unclear, according to this Cochrane review.

First, the details.

  • 23 studies that included 1461 patients were reviewed.
  • Additional information was sought from the study researchers when necessary.

And, the results.

  • Music listening has a moderate but inconsistent effect on anxiety in patients with coronary heart disease.
  • Listening to music reduces heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
  • Studies that included 2 or more music sessions showed a small and consistent pain-reducing effect.
  • There wasn’t strong evidence for reducing psychological distress.
  • No evidence peripheral skin temperature effects.
  • No study measured changes in hormone levels.
  • Only one study measured quality of life.

The bottom line?
Based on the results of studies that used pre-recorded music, the authors concluded, “the evidence is not strong and the clinical significance unclear.”

OK, but it’s music.

What did the reviewers expect: decreased hospitalizations, reduced need for statins, lower mortality?


Isn’t decreased anxiety and improved vital signs — including reduced pain — enough to turn on an easy listening radio station?

4/16/09 13:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.