Effect of Live Music Therapy for Patients Undergoing Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Darcy D. Walworth


The purpose of the current study was to identify the effects of live music therapy interventions compared with preferred recorded music for patients undergoing MRI scans. To date, there has not been a published study involving the use of live music therapy during MRI scans. The current study investigated the differences between teenage through adult patients receiving live music therapy intervention during outpatient MRI scans versus the standard protocol of care listening to recorded music (N = 88). Subjects ranged in age from 15 to 93 years old. Results indicated subjects who received the live music therapy protocol reported significantly better perception of the MRI procedure (p < 0.05). Additionally, subjects receiving the live music therapy protocol had fewer scans repeated due to movement. Of the repeated images, 26% occurred in the live music group and 73% occurred in the recorded music group. Subjects receiving live music therapy also requested less breaks from the scan. Two percent of the live music subjects requested a break and 17.6% of the control patients requested breaks. When comparing the same type of scan between groups, subjects receiving the live music protocol required less time to complete the scans. For lumbar scans without contrast (N = 14, n = 7, n = 7), live music subjects spent an average of 4.63 less min per scan for a total of 32 less min for 7 subjects. For brain scans (N = 8, n = 4, n = 4), live music subjects spent an average of 5.8 less min per scan for a total of 23 less min for 4 subjects. Results of the current study supports the use of live music therapy intervention for teenage and adult patients undergoing MRI scans to reduce patient anxiety and improve patient perception of the scan experience. Additionally, live music therapy has the potential to shorten the length of time required for patients to complete MRI scans due to decreased patient movements and fewer breaks requested during the scans. The cost savings impact of reduced procedure time can positively impact the facility productivity by allowing more scans to be scheduled daily.