PURPOSE: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is associated with breathlessness. Singing requires use of respiratory musculature suggesting it could improve lung function. The purpose of this study was to determine if singing every day might improve pulmonary function and quality of life.
METHODS: A case-controlled pre/post study tested patient’ s at baseline and 12 weeks. Testing included spirometry, inspiratory and expiratory pressures, Borg scales, Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI18), and Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). A series of questions assessed study experience. All patients had COPD without other respiratory illnesses and were in phase 3 pulmonary rehabilitation. A singing pamphlet guided patients through breathing and vocal warm-ups followed with singing a song. Subjects sang 5 minutes morning and evening. Weekly contacts answered any concerns regarding the pamphlet and singing.
RESULTS: Thirty-one consented and 25 completed the study, 9 males/16 females. The mean age was 69.449.43 (range 47.00-84.00). Forced expiratory volume (FEV1) at baseline was 1.050.44 and 1.010.39 at follow up (p=0.12). Forced vital capacity (FVC) at baseline was 2.110.75 and 2.040.61 at follow up (p=0.21). Inspiratory pressure at baseline was-53.4415.02 and -48.5633.75 at follow up (p=0.38). Expiratory pressure at baseline was 68.5214.77 and 67.8816.48 at follow up (p=0.81). Borg Fatigue Rating at baseline was 8.883.76 and 7.602.61 at follow up (p=0.04). SGRQ score at baseline was 42.4417.53 and 39.8713.86 at follow up (p=0.18). BSI-18 Global Severity Index at baseline was 52.569.11 and 51.688.75 at follow up (p=0.51). Eighty-four percent found singing to be comforting or non-painful, 64% did not find it to be inconvenient, and 64% were likely to continue.
CONCLUSION: Patients demonstrated a decrease in Borg fatigue rating, suggesting less dyspnea. There were no significant pulmonary function test changes. Since the study caused little inconvenience or discomfort to the patient, further research may be warranted; singing may reduce perceived dyspnea.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Clinical management of COPD is largely focused on reducing dyspnea. These findings suggest further research may be warranted for this novel approach.
DISCLOSURE: Anton Grasch, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information