Music Helps Wean Ventilator Patients


Music can be relaxing, even for patients in a high-stress situation like learning to breath without mechanical ventilation, researchers reported at the 2015 American Thoracic Society meeting in Denver, CO.

Patients who agreed to listen to music for set periods during weaning from prolonged mechanical ventilation did better than patients who did not listen to music, a University of Pittsburgh researcher has found.

In a study presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society meeting in Denver, CO, Zhan Liang, a PhD candidate at the university, found that such patients had significant decreases in heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety and dyspnea.

In the study 28 subjects from a long-term acute-care hospital were subjected to a “musical intervention” in which they selected music and then listened to it every other day via a headset. On the “off” days they did not listen to music.

All subjects were on mechanical ventilation for more than 4 days and were undergoing daily weaning trials. Their median length of hospital stay was 38.9 day and all were in long-term acute care hospitals.

The patients had no hearing impairment, no evidence of delirium, and were an average of 62.5 years old. Most (79%) were male.

On music days, the subjects had significant decreases in heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and dyspnea, though no significant decreases in SpO2 or mean blood pressure.

The authors theorize that having patients listen to music during daily weaning “may be a simple means of reducing stress and therefore hastening extubation.”

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