Background: Adverse effects, treatment resistance and high costs associated with pharmacological treatment of hypertension have led to growing interest in non-pharmacological complementary therapies such as music interventions. This meta-analysis aims to provide an overview of reported evidence on the efficacy of music interventions in the treatment of hypertension. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted for publications on the effect of music interventions on blood pressure in adult hypertensive subjects published between January 1990-June 2014. Randomized controlled trials with a follow-up duration ≥28 days were included. Blood pressure measures were pooled using inverse variance weighting. Results: Of the 1689 abstracts reviewed, 10 randomized controlled trials were included. Random-effects pooling of the music intervention groups showed a trend toward a decrease in mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) from 144 mmHg(95 % CI:137-152) to 134 mmHg(95 % CI:124-144), and in mean diastolic blood pressure (DBP) from 84 mmHg(95 % CI:78-89) to 78 mmHg(95 % CI:73-84). Fixed-effect analysis of a subgroup of 3 trials with valid control groups showed a significant decrease in pooled mean SBP and DBP in both intervention and control groups. A comparison between music intervention groups and control groups was not possible due to unavailable measures of dispersion. Conclusions: This systematic review and meta-analysis revealed a trend towards a decrease in blood pressure in hypertensive patients who received music interventions, but failed to establish a cause-effect relationship between music interventions and blood pressure reduction. Considering the potential value of this safe, low-cost intervention, well-designed, high quality and sufficiently powered randomized studies assessing the efficacy of music interventions in the treatment of hypertension are warranted.

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B M C Cardiovascular Disorders
Department of Pediatric Surgery

Kühlmann, R., Etnel, J., Roos-Hesselink, J., Jeekel, H., Bogers, A., & Takkenberg, H. (2016). Systematic review and meta-analysis of music interventions in hypertension treatment: A quest for answers. B M C Cardiovascular Disorders, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s12872-016-0244-0