Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Advanced Practice Nursing

First Supervisor

Christine Nelson-Tuttle

Second Supervisor

Heather McGrane Minton



Background: Benefits of music intervention after open heart surgery have been studied amongst several clinical settings, yet implementation is not frequently seen with patients in the cardiothoracic field. Open heart surgery is associated with postoperative pain that peaks the first few days after surgery. Multiple negative outcomes may result from ineffective pain management including, deep vein thrombosis, pneumonia, and poor wound healing leading to increased morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. Music intervention has been shown to relieve anxiety and pain, reduce stress, decrease S-cortisol levels and increase oxytocin levels. However, the literature is limited on the use or integration of music in this population.

Objective: To assess the perception of healthcare providers towards the use of music intervention for patients who have undergone open heart surgery.

Methods: 44 participants participated in an online survey assessing cardiothoracic health care providers’ knowledge, concerns, current use and/or their likelihood of implementation in regards to music intervention use for open heart surgery patients.

Results: 21 (47.7%) participants had used music intervention, and 18 (85.7%) endorsed they believed music intervention had some to most significant influence on patient outcomes. Of those that had not used music (23, 52.3%), all 23 (100%) endorsed they were neutral to very likely on the idea of implementing music intervention if available.

Conclusions. While # amount of participants had not used (or had used), we found the largest barriers to be related to potential unfamiliarity of the modality itself.

Relevance to practice. Music intervention can be an integral part of the regimen administered to patients having undergone cardiovascular surgery with potential to decrease healthcare costs and increase patient outcomes and satisfaction.


This article reflects key factors of influence on use of music intervention for pain, from users and non-users. When further evaluated, these survey results could assist in removing barriers between implementation of music intervention for postoperative open heart surgery patients, and others.

Keywords: music intervention, music therapy, open heart surgery, cardiothoracic, alternative therapies

Included in

Nursing Commons