Lisa Hartling, PhD, from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial in a pediatric emergency department to compare music with standard care for managing pain and distress. Participants included 42 children aged 3 to 11 years undergoing intravenous placement.
The researchers found that there was no significant difference in the change in behavioral distress before the procedure to immediately after the procedure, with and without controlling for potential confounders. On exclusion of children who experienced no distress during the procedure, the increase in distress was significantly less in the music group. Children in the standard-care group experienced a two-point increase in pain scores, while scores remained the same for children in the music group (P = 0.04; clinically important difference). Parents' satisfaction with the management of pain favored the music group (P = 0.07). According to health care providers, procedure performance was easier for children in the music versus the standard-care group (76 versus 38 percent "very easy"). Health care provider satisfaction with intravenous placement was higher for the music versus the standard-care group (86 versus 48 percent "very satisfied").
"Music may have a positive impact on pain and distress for children undergoing intravenous placement," the authors write. "Benefits were also observed for the parents and health care providers."