The Role of Music in Improving Exercise Capacity in Patients with Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as Measured by the 2-minute Walking Test


  • Anuk Kruavit MD
  • Eugene Teh
  • Imogen Clark
  • Vikas Vadhwa



Background: Studies have shown that music has positive effects on quality of life and increases exercise capacity of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We evaluated the effects of music on exercise capacity in COPD inpatients. Method: This was a prospective, interventional study involving patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD. Patients selected, from a pre-determined list, their preferred song rated as having the best motivational score, as per the Brunel Music Rating Inventory. A 2-minute walking test was undertaken with and without music. The walking distance and degree of dyspnoea were recorded after each walking test. Secondary outcomes included walking time, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation with and without music. Results: 17 patients were recruited, with a mean age of 73.9 ± 8.6 years. 9 were males and 8 were females. There was a significant increase in the walking distance with music, with a mean increase in distance of 7.94 metres (95% CI, 3.58 – 12.31). There was a non-significant trend that patients could walk for a longer time with music therapy. Diastolic blood pressure also increased significantly with music therapy, but other physiological parameters did not show any significant changes. The motivational score of the preferred song used did not lead to any significant correlation with the outcome variables. Conclusion: The use of music with a patient-preferred song may lead to significant clinical benefits in hospital inpatients with acute exacerbation of COPD. Larger studies are warranted to provide further evidence for its potential use in routine clinical practice.

Author Biographies

Anuk Kruavit, MD

Dr Anuk Kruavit is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in General and Acute Care Medicine, who is currently completing his post-fellowship training in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine. His main research interests include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, remote and public health medicine, and sleep- disordered breathing. He is also involved as a lecturer in the Northern Territory Medical Program at the Charles Darwin University, Australia.

Eugene Teh

Eastern Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Imogen Clark

University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Vikas Vadhwa

University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia






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