Music for Anxiety in Critically Ill Patients

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    Erasmus Medical Center
Updated on 19 March 2021


Rationale: Anxiety is common in critically ill patients, and has likely become more prevalent in the recent decade due to the imperative of the recent PADIS guidelines to use low levels of sedation and strive for wakefulness. Administration of sedative and analgesic medication is often chosen to reduce anxiety, especially when associated with agitation, but especially sedatives are associated with prolonged mechanical ventilation, delirium and muscle wasting and are therefore preferably minimized. Previous studies have suggested positive effects of music interventions on anxiety in the critically ill, next to other physiological signs such as pain. However, management of anxiety has not been included in the PADIS guidelines, and there is lack of evidence to treat it in spite of its growing importance. Therefore, we aim to study the effect of music intervention on anxiety in adult critically ill patients.

Objective: The primary objective is to assess the effect of music intervention on the level of anxiety.

Study design: A randomized controlled trial. Study population: Adult patients admitted to the intensive care unit, with whom communication is possible (Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale of -2 or higher).

Intervention (if applicable): The music group will be offered to listen to music two times per day for three days after inclusion, during 30-60 minutes per session. Chosen music will be based on the preference of the patient. The control group will receive standard of care during the entire study.

Main study parameters/endpoints: The primary outcome is the effect of music on the Visual Analogue Scale for anxiety (VAS-A). Secondary outcomes include effect of music on sedation and agitation level, medication requirement, pain, sleep, delirium, heart rate, mean arterial pressure, and ICU memory and experience.

Condition ANXIETY NEUROSIS, Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders (Pediatric), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD - Pediatric), Anxiety Symptoms, Anxiety Disorders, anxiety disorder, anxious
Treatment Music
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04796389
SponsorErasmus Medical Center
Last Modified on19 March 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Patient is hemodynamically stable and communicable (RASS of -2 or higher in the 24h before intended inclusion: meaning patient is at least briefly awakened with eye contact to voice)
Expected ICU stay upon randomisation of at least another 48 hours
Written informed consent acquired from the patient or legal representative

Exclusion Criteria

Patients with severe hearing impairment, defined as no verbal communication possible
Neurological condition (e.g. severe stroke), when deemed to interfere with processing of music (e.g. not applicable to patients with minor stroke in past medical history without significant residual neurological deficits; those patients could be included)
Insufficient knowledge of the Dutch or English language for informed consent
Participation in another study that may possibly intervene with the primary outcome measure
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