The role of music in intensive care medicine is still unclear. However, it is well known that music may not only improve quality of life but also effect changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV). Reactions to music are considered subjective, but studies suggest that cardio/cerebrovascular variables are influenced under different circumstances. It has been shown that cerebral flow was significantly lower when listening to "Va pensioero" from Verdi's "Nabucco" (70.4+3.3 cm/s) compared to "Libiam nei lieti calici" from Verdi's "La Traviata" (70.2+3.1 cm/s) (P<0,02) or Bach's Cantata No. 169 "Gott soll allein mein Herze haben" (70.9+2.9 cm/s) (P<0,02). There was no significant influence on cerebral flow in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony during rest (67.6+3.3 cm/s) or music (69.4+3.1 cm/s). It was reported that relaxing music plays an important role in intensive care medicine. Music significantly decreases the level of anxiety for patients in a preoperative setting (STAI-X-1 score 34) to a greater extent even than orally administered midazolam (STAI-X-1 score 36) (P<0.001). In addition, the score was better after surgery in the music group (STAI-X-1 score 30) compared to midazolam (STAI-X-1 score 34) (P<0.001). Higher effectiveness and absence of apparent adverse effects make relaxing, preoperative music a useful alternative to midazolam. In addition, there is sufficient practical evidence of stress reduction suggesting that a proposed regimen of listening to music while resting in bed after open-heart surgery is important in clinical use. After 30 min of bed rest, there was a significant difference in cortisol levels between the music (484.4 mmol/l) and the non-music group (618.8 mmol/l) (P<0.02). Vocal and orchestral music produces significantly better correlations between cardiovascular and respiratory signals in contrast to uniform emphasis (P<0.05). The most benefit on health in intensive care medicine patients is visible in classical (Bach, Mozart or Italian composers) music and meditation music, whereas heavy metal music or techno are not only ineffective but possibly dangerous and can lead to stress and/or life-threatening arrhythmias, particularly in intensive care medicine patients.
Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci. 2012 Jan;2(1):27-31. Trappe HJ. Department of Cardiology and Angiology, University of Bochum, Germany.