Thirteen studies (n=918) were included in the review. All studies were reported as being experimental in design, with 12 studies reported as being randomised and one study as a non-randomised convenience sample. Three studies were reported as being blinded.
Mixed results were reported for the effects on anxiety of music therapy compared to standard care for participants who underwent invasive procedures. Some studies reported a statistically significant reduction in anxiety for music therapy groups as measured by STAI scores (two studies) and Likert scale (one study). Most studies found no statistically significant differences in anxiety between groups measured by STAI scores (seven studies) or visual analogue scales (three studies). One study reported lower cortisol levels in the music group compared to control.
Mixed results were reported for the effects on vital signs of music therapy in comparison to standard care for participants undergoing invasive procedures: blood pressure was reported as being significantly lower in participants receiving music therapy (five studies), but five studies reported no statistically significant differences between groups; heart rate was significantly reduced in four studies, but no significant differences between groups were found in six studies; none of the studies that measured oxygen saturation (four studies) or respiratory rate (three studies) found any significant differences between groups.
Fewer doses of sedative or analgesic medications were reported for music therapy groups compared to standard care for participants undergoing invasive procedures for four studies; one study showed no differences between groups.
All the studies that evaluated participants’ opinions, reaction and feedback reported favourable experiences of participants who underwent music therapy for invasive procedures (six studies).