Although evidence suggests music therapy lowers the heart rate of ill adults undergoing painful procedures and premature infants in the NICU, the effect of music therapy interventions on physiologic response in infants with congenital heart disease (CHD) being cared for in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) has not been explored.
The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of the music therapy entrainment on physiologic responses of infants with CHD in the CICU.
Five infants in the CICU received music therapy entrainment 3–5 times per week for up to 3 weeks. Sessions took place both prior to and after the infant’s surgical cardiac repair. Heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturations were recorded every 15 seconds for 20 minutes prior to the intervention (baseline), during the 20-minute music therapy entrainment (intervention), and for 20 minutes after the intervention (return to baseline). Comparisons of baseline to intervention measures were based on means, standard deviations, and derivatives of the signal.
Four of 5 infants experienced a decrease in average heart and respiratory rates as well as improvement in the derivative of the heart rate signal. Greater improvements were found when infants were located in the open bay and were receiving sedatives or narcotics.
Our findings provide initial evidence that music therapy entrainment may be a valuable intervention to support improved physiologic stability in infants with CHD.