Decreasing delirium through music listening (DDM) in critically ill, mechanically ventilated older adults in the intensive care unit: a two-arm, parallel-group, randomized clinical trial

Trials. 2022 Jul 19;23(1):576. doi: 10.1186/s13063-022-06448-w.


Background: Delirium is a highly prevalent and morbid syndrome in mechanically ventilated intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Music is a promising non-pharmacological intervention with beneficial effects on anxiety and stress, while its effects on delirium duration and severity are not well understood.

Methods/design: Our study is a two-arm, randomized parallel-group, clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of music intervention compared to a silence-track attention control on delirium/coma duration in mechanically ventilated critically ill older adults. One hundred sixty mechanically ventilated adults 50 years of age or older will be randomized to one of two arms within 72 h of ICU admission: (1) 1-h music listening sessions twice daily through noise-canceling headphones, or (2) 1-h sessions of a silence track twice daily through noise-canceling headphones. Our primary aim is to compare delirium/coma-free days after randomization during the 7-day study intervention phase using the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM ICU) and the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS) for delirium and coma. Secondary outcomes include pain and anxiety evaluated twice daily during the intervention phase and throughout the duration of ICU stay using the Critical Care Pain Observation Tool (CPOT) and visual analog scale-anxiety (VAS-A). Enrolled participants will be followed after hospital discharge to further measure cognition as well as screening for depression and anxiety using the following telephone-based instruments: Indiana University Telephone-Based Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (IU TBANS), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7).

Discussion: This randomized clinical trial will measure the efficacy of a music listening intervention for delirium and coma duration early in the intensive care unit among older adults.

Trial registration: NCT04182334 .

Keywords: Acute respiratory failure; Anxiety; Cognition; Delirium; Intensive care unit; Mechanical ventilation; Music; Pain; Post-intensive care syndrome.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Critical Illness / psychology
  • Delirium* / diagnosis
  • Delirium* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Music*
  • Pain
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects

Associated data