Patient-selected music during weaning from prolonged mechanical ventilation could benefit patients by decreasing their heart rate and anxiety, according to a study presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

Patients on prolonged mechanical ventilation may feel stress or insecurity during daily weaning trials because they do not have support from the ventilator. “Having patients listen to music during these trials may help reduce stress and speed up extubation,” said lead author Zhan Liang, a PhD candidate at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

Researchers recruited 28 subjects from a long-term acute care hospital and randomized subjects into two music intervention orders for 6 days during their weaning trials. Both orders involved listening to music every other day via a headset, with the “off” days having no music.

Subjects included in the study were on mechanical ventilation for more than 4 days, were undergoing daily weaning trials, had no hearing impairment, were at least 21 years old, and had no evidence of delirium. During weaning trials on music days, researchers began to track outcome measures for 30 minutes; after that, patients listened to their selected music for 60 minutes. On non-music days, data were collected for 90 minutes.

On music days, subjects had significant decreases in heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and dyspnea pre- and post-music intervention. There were no significant decreases in SpO2 or mean blood pressure. On non-music days, no significant changes occurred with the variables.

When researchers compared the three music days with the three nonmusic days, there were significant decreases in respiratory rate, anxiety, dyspnea, and a significant increase in daily weaning time, but not heart rate, SpO2, or mean blood pressure.