Music Therapy Following Cardiac Surgery-is it an Effective Method to Reduce Pain and Anxiety?


Interactive CardioVascular and Thoracic Surgery




A best evidence topic in cardiac surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was: In patients undergoing cardiac surgery, is postoperative music therapy effective in reducing pain and anxiety? Altogether, 153 papers were found using the reported search method, of which 7 represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. Six of the included studies were randomized trials, with 1 further non-randomized trial. The specific music protocols utilized widely varied, ranging from 1 short session on day 1 postoperatively to multiple sessions per day over a 72-h period. Most therapies involved music of a relaxing type, typically between 50 and 60?dB. All 7 studies reported on pain, with 4 demonstrating significant differences in pain score; however, 3 of these were not associated with reduction in analgesia requirements. Five studies reported on anxiety, with 2 demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in levels of anxiety. These results need to be contextualized by the small number of participants within each study and the heterogeneity in the therapy protocols utilized. The current best available evidence fails to support the benefits of music therapy as an effective non-pharmacological option in reducing pain and anxiety following open-heart surgery. While there is scarce evidence demonstrating efficacy, the current literature contains very small-sample-sized studies in utilizing music therapy protocols which in turn have wide range of variability in terms of duration, frequency, timing in the postoperative period and specific choice of music utilized in each protocol.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Analgesic Intake; Anxiety; Cardiac Surgery; Cardiovascular Diseases; Hospital Setting; Hospitalized Patients; Medication Use; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Postoperative Pain; Postoperative Patients; Recorded Music Listening; Surgery; Surgical Patients

Indexed Terms

Anxiety; Cardiac Surgical Procedures; Postoperative Pain; Analgesia; Anxiety; Cardiac surgery; Postoperative

Study Type

Editorials, Opinions, Position Papers

PubMed ID


Document Type