Effects of a music-based intervention on psychophysiological outcomes of patients undergoing medical imaging procedures: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Radiography (Lond). 2024 Mar;30(2):589-604. doi: 10.1016/j.radi.2024.01.014. Epub 2024 Feb 7.


Introduction: Musical intervention (MI) is a valuable strategy for addressing the psychological and emotional challenges faced by patients undergoing imaging procedures. This study explores MI's impact on psychophysiological outcomes during imaging procedures, detailing the sound repertoire and technical characteristics employed in MI.

Methods: A systematic review (SR) and meta-analysis (MA) were conducted. Electronic database searches of PubMed, Web-of-Science, and Scopus were performed encompassing original randomised research and quasi-experimental articles published until June 2023.

Results: Thirteen articles were included in this SR, scoring between 23 and 68 on the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Checklist. Four articles were included to perform a MA concerning anxiety and heart rate (HR) outcomes. Most studies utilised digital playlists as the medium for MI. Headphones were commonly used, with an average volume of 50-60 dB and a musical frequency of 60-80 beats/min. While authors generally preferred selecting musical genres for the repertoire, two articles specifically chose Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D major" as their musical theme. In terms of psychological parameters, the experimental groups exhibited lower anxiety values than the control groups, with further reductions after MI. However, MA shows that this trend is only marginally significant. Patient comfort and overall examination experience showed improvement with MI. Regarding physiological parameters, HR, especially in the final phase of the examination, was significantly lower in the experimental group compared to the control group.

Conclusion: Across multiple studies, MI demonstrated the ability to reduce anxiety and HR. However, no specific music repertoire emerged as the most effective.

Implications for practice: MI arises as a painless, reliable, low-cost, and side-effect-free strategy, presenting imaging departments with a practical means to enhance patient comfort and mitigate anxiety and stress during medical procedures.

Keywords: Anxiety; Comfort; Imaging procedures; Music intervention; Sound.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Music* / psychology
  • Radiography
  • Stress, Psychological