Effects of Music Therapy on Vital Signs in Children with Chronic Disease

Background: Recent research found evidence supporting music therapy for hospitalized children with chronic diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of music therapy on hospitalized children's vital signs.

Methods: In this prospective study, children with chronic gastroenterological and nephrological diseases received active or receptive music therapy two to four times a week until discharge from hospital at the pediatric special care unit (SCU) and pediatric intensive care unit (ICU). Baseline and post-therapy heart rate, oxygen saturation and blood pressure were recorded and analyzed as control values at three points on the same day when the children were alone in their patient room at rest.

Results: A total of 83 children, median 3 age of years (range one month to eighteen years) received music therapy. In total, 377 music therapy sessions were treated: 200 receptive therapy (78 ICU, 122 SCU) and 177 with active therapy (0 ICU, 177 SCU). Music therapy interventions showed changes in vital signs during music therapy sessions. After music therapy, heart rates decreased by 18 beats per minute (95% confidence interval (CI), -19.4 to (-16.8)), oxygen saturation increased by 2.3% (95% CI, 2.2 to 2.5), systolic blood pressure decreased by 9.2 (95% CI, -10.6 to -7.7) and diastolic blood pressure decreased by 7.9 (95% CI, -9.6 to -6.3). When music therapy was applied at the SCU (ICU), heart rates significantly reduced by 17.9 (18.9) beats per min, oxygen saturation increased by 2.4% (2.1%) and blood pressure reduced by 9.2 (2.8) mmHg (systolic) and 7.9 (0.3) mmHg (diastolic). Almost all control values were better than directly before the intervention. However, after music therapy intervention, the children showed better values in vital signs compared to being alone in their patient room.

Conclusion: Music therapy is an added value for children with kidney and liver/gastrointestinal diseases during their hospital stay.


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