Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy (MMT)


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Annie Heiderscheit, Ph.D., MT-BC, LMFT


Mechanical ventilation (MV) is a medical intervention used to assist the respiratory function of someone who is medically compromised. Patients need to wean from the ventilator in order to resume breathing on their own. A spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) is used to determine one’s readiness to be liberated from the ventilator. Music therapy is the use of music interventions, facilitated by a board-certified music therapist, to address patient-specific goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music therapists working in an intensive care unit (ICU) may focus their clinical work to address the stressors, fears, and medical complications associated with vent weaning. The goal of the present study was to determine if one 30-minute music therapy session during an SBT would decrease the patient’s perceived level of anxiety and improve physiologic metrics related to the SBT, specifically, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and heart rate. In addition to evaluating the physiological response to music therapy, this study sought to understand the impact from the perspective of the patient. The research question was: What does the patient experience related to music therapy during their spontaneous breathing trial? Data collected from 20 patients revealed that measurements of heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly increased pre- to post-music therapy session. Data analyzed in the interviews suggested that music therapy may assist patients in coping with the physical, emotional, and spiritual stressors of weaning from MV.


SC 11.MMT.2021.Morris.SM

Included in

Music Therapy Commons