Listening to music for even just half-hour a day is good for your heart as researchers have found that patients who suffered episodes of pain soon after an attack, referred to as early post-infarction angina, had significantly lower levels of hysteria and pain.
The new study suggests music, combined with standard therapies like medications, might be an easy, accessible measure that patients can do at home to potentially reduce these symptoms and help prevent subsequent cardiac events.
"Based on our findings, we believe music therapy can help all patients after a heart attack, not only patients with early post-infarction angina. It's also very easy and inexpensive to implement," said study lead author Predrag Mitrovic, Professor at the University of Belgrade in Serbia.
For the findings, the researchers recruited 350 patients diagnosed with cardiac attack and early post-infarction angina at a medical centre in Serbia.
Half were randomly assigned to receive standard treatment while half were assigned to regular music sessions additionally to plain treatment.
According to the researchers, patients receiving music therapy first underwent a test to work out which music genre their body was likely to reply to positively.
Participants listened to nine 30-second samples of music they found soothing, while researchers assessed each participant's body for automatic, involuntary responses to the music samples supported dilation or narrowing of the pupils.
Patients continued with these daily listening sessions for seven years, documenting their sessions during a log.
At the end of seven years, music therapy was found to be simpler than standard treatment alone in terms of reducing anxiety, pain sensation and pain distress.
The patients with music therapy, on the average, had anxiety scored one-third less than those on standard treatment and reported lower angina symptoms by about one-quarter.
These patients also had significantly lower rates of certain heart conditions, including an 18 per cent reduction within the rate of heart failure; 23 per cent lower rate of a subsequent heart attack; 20 per cent lower rate of needing arteria coronaria bypass graft surgery; and 16 per cent lower rate of cardiac death.
According to the researchers, the music may go by helping to counteract the activity of the sympathetic systema nervosum, the part of the systema nervosum that drives the "fight-or-flight" response when an individual faces a stressful situation.
Because it increases pulse and vital sign, a sympathetic response can put added strain on the circulatory system, the researchers said.
"Unrelieved anxiety can produce an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity, leading to an increase in cardiac workload," Mitrovic said.
The research is scheduled to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session alongside World Congress of Cardiology on March 28-30 within the US.