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, 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.

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by The International Association for Music & Medicine