Music has been used as a distractive auditory stimulus (DAS) in patients with COPD, but its effects are unclear. This systematic review aimed to establish the effect of DAS on exercise capacity, symptoms, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) under three conditions: (1) during exercise training, (2) during exercise testing, and (3) for symptom management at rest.
Randomized controlled or crossover trials as well as cohort studies of DAS during exercise training, during formal exercise testing, and for symptom management among individuals with COPD were identified from a search of seven databases. Two reviewers independently assessed study quality. Weighted mean differences (WMDs) with 95% CIs were calculated using a random-effects model.
Thirteen studies (12 of which were randomized controlled or crossover trials) in 415 participants were included. DAS increased exercise capacity when applied over at least 2 months of exercise training (WMD, 98 m; 95% CI, 47-150 m). HRQOL improved only after a training duration of 3 months. Less dyspnea was noted with DAS during exercise training, but this was not consistently observed in short-term exercise testing or as a symptom management strategy at rest.
DAS appears to reduce symptoms of dyspnea and fatigue when used during exercise training, with benefits observed in exercise capacity and HRQOL. When applied during exercise testing, the effects on exercise capacity and symptoms and as a strategy for symptom management at rest are inconsistent.