The effects of music intervention on burn patients during treatment procedures: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Mar 17;17(1):158. doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-1669-4.


Background: The treatment of burn patients is very challenging because burn injuries are one of the most severe traumas that can be experienced. The effect of music therapy on burn patients has been widely reported, but the results have been inconsistent. Thus, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials in burn patients to determine the effect of music during treatments.

Methods: We searched a variety of electronic databases, including MEDLINE (via PubMed), EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Psychinfo, VIP Database for Chinese Technical Periodicals (VIP) and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) for relevant trials on the basis of predetermined eligibility criteria. from their first available date through February 2016. Our search focused on two key concepts: music interventions (including music, music therapy and music medicine) and physical activity outcomes (including pain, anxiety, burn characteristics, dressing changes, wound care, debridement and rehabilitation). Two reviewers independently screened records and extracted data from all eligible studies. Statistical heterogeneity was determined using Q-test and the I 2 statistic. The endpoints included standardized mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Publication bias was tested by Begg's funnel plot and Egger's test.

Results: A total of 17 studies met the inclusion criteria, for a total of 804 patients. A statistically significant difference in pain relief was demonstrated between music and non-music interventions (SMD = -1.26, 95% CI [-1.83, -0.68]), indicating that music intervention has a positive effect on pain alleviation for burn patients. The results indicated that music interventions markedly reduced anxiety in individuals compared to non-music interventions (SMD = -1.22, 95% CI [-1.75, -0.69]). Correspondingly, heart rate decreases were found after treatments that included music interventions (SMD = -0.60, 95% CI [-0.84, -0.36]).

Conclusion: In summary, a positive correlation was found between treatments including music interventions and pain alleviation, anxiety relief, and heart rate reduction in burn patients. However, additional high-quality studies with carefully considered music interventions for burn patients are still needed.

Keywords: Anxiety; Burn patients; Meta-analysis; Music intervention; Pain; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Burns / psychology
  • Burns / therapy*
  • China
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy*
  • Pain Management
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome