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Music Therapy for Patients Who Have Undergone Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant

DOI: 10.1155/2014/742941

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Objectives. This study examines the short- and long-term QOL benefits of a music therapy intervention for patients recovering from hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Methods. Ninety allogeneic HSCT patients, after transplant, were randomized to receive ISO-principle (i.e., mood matching) based music therapy (MT; ), unstructured music (UM; ), or usual care (UC; ) for four weeks. The ISO principle posits that patients may shift their mood from one state to another by listening to music that is “equal to” the individual’s initial mood state and subsequently listening to music selections that gradually shift in tempo and mood to match the patient’s desired disposition. Participants in MT and UM groups developed two audio CDs to help them feel more relaxed and energized and were instructed to use the CDs to improve their mood as needed. Short-term effects on mood and long-term effects on QOL were examined. Results. MT and UM participants reported improved mood immediately after listening to CDs; the within-group effect was greater for UM participants compared to MT participants. Participant group was not associated with long-term QOL outcomes. Conclusions. Music listening improves mood acutely but was not associated with long-term benefits in this study. 1. Introduction Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is used to treat a variety of malignant diseases. The procedure is regarded as one of the most difficult oncologic interventions due to the common and intense side effects of high dose chemotherapy and graft-versus-host disease such as organ toxicity (e.g., pulmonary and cardiac), osteoporosis, infection, cataracts, and infertility [1–8]. Not surprisingly, HSCT has been associated with diminished quality of life (QOL), especially in the first 100 days after transplant period [2–5]. The period of lowest white blood cell count, nadir, which typically occurs within the first 30 days after transplant, has been identified as the time when patients report the greatest symptom distress [9] although patients may report symptom distress for as long as 3–5 years after transplant [10]. The acute complications of HSCT may prevent patients from participating in common symptom management interventions [6]. Thus, finding effective methods to alleviate distress and improve coping skills and emotional well-being may improve post-transplant QOL as well as reduce symptom distress [2, 7, 8, 11]. Music therapy, which requires minimal physical exertion, may be an ideal intervention for helping HSCT patients manage their emotions and control


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