Beneficial Effects of Listening to Classical Music in Patients With Heart Failure: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Card Fail. 2020 Jul;26(7):541-549. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2019.12.005. Epub 2019 Dec 24.


Background: Practical recommendations on nonpharmacologic non-device/surgical interventions in patients with heart failure (HF) are well known. Although complementary treatments may have beneficial effects, there is no evidence that these on their own improve mortality, morbidity, or quality of life. We examined the effects of listening to recorded classical music on HF-specific quality of life (QOL), generic QOL, sleep quality, anxiety, depression, and cognitive state in patients with HF in the home-care setting.

Methods and results: Multicenter randomized controlled trial. One hundred fifty-nine patients with HF were randomized on a 1:1 basis in 2 groups: experimental (music) and control. Patients were evaluated after 30, 60, 90 days (experimental period) and at 6 months. Patients randomized to the music group listened to music from a large preselected playlist, at least 30 minutes per day, for 3 months on an MP3 player. Patients in the control group received standard care. HF-specific QOL, generic QOL, self-care, somatic perception of HF symptoms, sleep quality, anxiety and depression, and cognitive abilities were assessed throughout the use of specific scales. On average, patients in the music group showed greater improvements in terms of HF-specific QOL (P < .001), generic-QOL (P = .005), quality of sleep (P = .007), anxiety and depression levels (P < .001 for both), and cognitive performances (P = .003).

Conclusions: Listening to recorded classical music is a feasible, noninvasive, safe, and inexpensive intervention, able to improve QOL in patients with HF in the home-care setting.

Keywords: Heart failure; cardiac rehabilitation; music listening; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy*
  • Music*
  • Quality of Life