Effects of Music Therapy on Endothelial Function in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease Participating in Aerobic Exercise Therapy

Altern Ther Health Med. 2017 May;23(3):at5491. Epub 2017 Feb 27.


Context • Pleasant music that evokes a positive emotional response may activate brain pathways of the insular cortex, central nucleus of the amygdala, and lateral hypothalamus, which are involved in the integration of emotional and ambient sensory input, with corresponding autonomic responses. Exercise training can improve endothelium-dependent vasodilatation, both in epicardial coronary vessels and in resistance vessels, for patients with coronary heart disease. Objective • The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects on endothelial function when patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) listened to their favorite music. Design • The study was a randomized controlled trial. Setting • The study occurred at the Institute of Cardiology, Niska Banja, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis (Nis, Serbia). Participants • Participants were 74 patients with stable CAD. Intervention • Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: (1) exercise training only (T) group (n = 33), (2) listening to music and exercise training (MT) group (n = 31), and listening to music only (M) group (n = 10). Participants in the T and MT groups received usual medical care and underwent 3 wk of supervised aerobic exercise training. In addition to the exercise training, participants in the MT group listened to their favorite music for 1.5 h every day. Participants in the M group received the usual medical care and listened to their favorite music for 1.5 h every day. Outcome Measures • At baseline and postintervention, outcomes were assessed through measurement of the changes in circulating blood markers of endothelial function-the stable end product of nitric oxide (NOx), asymmetric dimethylarginine, symmetric dimethylarginine, and xanthine oxidase-and through the results of submaximal or symptom-limited exercise test. Results • After 3 wk, the NOx significantly increased in both in MT and T groups, with P < .001 and P < .01, respectively. The level of NOx was associated with an improvement in exercise capacity, which increased in the T, MT, and M groups, with P < .001, P < .001, and P < .05, respectively. At the end of the study, the xanthine oxidase was significantly lower in the T, MT, and M groups, with P < .001 and P < .05, respectively. Conclusions • The patients with stable CAD significantly improved their endothelial function by listening to their favorite music in addition to participating in regular exercise training. Having a patient listen to his or her favorite music can be proposed as an additional nonpharmacologic intervention for improving a CAD patient's endothelial function. The music program should be adjusted individually to fit with a well-established training program for aerobic exercise, according to a patient's preferences.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / therapy*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Serbia


  • Biomarkers
  • Nitric Oxide