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ATS: Patient-Directed Music Cuts Anxiety, Sedation in ICU

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MONDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- For patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) receiving acute ventilatory support for respiratory failure, self-initiated patient-directed music (PDM) can reduce anxiety and sedation frequency and intensity more effectively than usual care, according to a study published online May 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society, held from May 17 to 22 in Philadelphia.

Linda L. Chlan, Ph.D., R.N., from The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues enrolled 373 patients from 12 intensive care units at five hospitals receiving acute mechanical ventilatory support for respiratory failure to receive self-initiated PDM with preferred selections tailored by a music therapist (126 patients); self-initiated use of noise-canceling headphones (NCH; 122 patients); or usual care (125 patients).

The researchers found that at any time point, patients in the PDM group had a significantly lower anxiety score than those in the usual-care group (19.5 points lower). In PDM patients, anxiety was reduced by 36.5 percent by the fifth study day. The PDM group had significantly reduced sedation intensity and frequency compared with usual care, and had significantly reduced sedation frequency versus the NCH group. PDM patients received two fewer sedative doses (38 percent reduction) and had a 36 percent reduction in sedation intensity by the fifth study day.

"The PDM intervention decreased anxiety and sedative exposure over time more effectively than usual care or NCH," the authors write.

One author maintains a private music therapy practice for which she receives payment.

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