Background: Adverse effects, treatment resistance and high costs associated with pharmacological treatment of hypertension have led to growing interest in non-pharmacological complementary therapies such as music interventions. This meta-analysis aims to provide an overview of reported evidence on the efficacy of music interventions in the treatment of hypertension.
Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted for publications on the effect of music interventions on blood pressure in adult hypertensive subjects published between January 1990-June 2014. Randomized controlled trials with a follow-up duration ≥28 days were included. Blood pressure measures were pooled using inverse variance weighting.
Results: Of the 1689 abstracts reviewed, 10 randomized controlled trials were included. Random-effects pooling of the music intervention groups showed a trend toward a decrease in mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) from 144 mmHg(95 % CI:137-152) to 134 mmHg(95 % CI:124-144), and in mean diastolic blood pressure (DBP) from 84 mmHg(95 % CI:78-89) to 78 mmHg(95 % CI:73-84). Fixed-effect analysis of a subgroup of 3 trials with valid control groups showed a significant decrease in pooled mean SBP and DBP in both intervention and control groups. A comparison between music intervention groups and control groups was not possible due to unavailable measures of dispersion.
Conclusions: This systematic review and meta-analysis revealed a trend towards a decrease in blood pressure in hypertensive patients who received music interventions, but failed to establish a cause-effect relationship between music interventions and blood pressure reduction. Considering the potential value of this safe, low-cost intervention, well-designed, high quality and sufficiently powered randomized studies assessing the efficacy of music interventions in the treatment of hypertension are warranted.
Keywords: Global health care delivery; Hypertension; Meta-analysis; Music intervention; Systemic review.