Listening to Relaxing Music Improves Physiological Responses in Premature Infants: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Premature infants are exposed to high levels of noise in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Purpose:

This study evaluated the effect of a relaxing music therapy intervention composed by artificial intelligence on respiratory rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate.

Methods:

A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was conducted in the NICUs of 2 general public hospitals in Andalusia, Spain. Participants were 17 healthy premature infants, randomly allocated to the intervention group or the control group (silence) at a 1:1 ratio. To be included in the study, the subjects were to be 32 to 36 weeks of gestation at birth (M= 32.33; SD = 1.79) and passed a hearing screening test satisfactorily. The intervention lasted 20 minutes, 3 times a day for 3 consecutive days, while infants were in the incubator. Infants' heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure were assessed before and after each intervention session.

Results:

After each session, the respiratory rate decreased in the experimental group (main between-groups effect (F1,13 = 6.73, P = .022, η2partial = 0.34). Across the sessions, the heart rate increased in the control group (main between-groups effect, F1,11 = 5.09, P = .045, η2partial = 0.32).

Implications for Research:

Future studies can use this music intervention to assess its potential effects in premature infants.

Implications for Practice:

Nurses can apply the relaxing music intervention presented in this study to ameliorate the impact of the stressful environment on premature infants.

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