Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 3, 2014

Music-induced prolongation of heart rate corrected QT intervals from electrocardiogram recordings of healthy preterm pregnant women

  • Franziska Rhomberg EMAIL logo , Thomas Moeslinger and Michael Gottsauner-Wolf



Women do have longer QTc intervals compared to men. The aim of this study was to investigate as-yet undocumented effects of music on QTc intervals from electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings compared to various cardiovascular parameters of women in the prenatal phase.


Forty-four healthy women in pregnancy were exposed to quiet surroundings (Q), self-selected slow music (S), and investigator-provided fast music (F) with different rhythm and frequency characteristics for 3 min each during their routine cardiotocography investigation. QTc intervals from ECG recordings were calculated according to the formulas of Bazett, Fridericia, and Sagie.


QTc durations (Bazett) increased from 0.396±0.02 (Q) to 0.401±0.02 s (S) and to 0.407±0.03 s (F). The increase in QTc (delta QTc) value for slow (S) and fast (F) music was found to be 5.3 (S) and 10.1 ms (F, milliseconds) when compared to quiescent (Q) conditions showing a highly significant tripled P-value of 0.002 (Q vs. F). Similar results were found using alternate frequency corrections (Fridericia, Sagie) – QTc (delta QTc): 8.1 (Fridericia) and 7.2 ms (Sagie), quiescent vs. F, with P<0.001. None of the tests for other cardiovascular parameters showed significant differences.


As shown from our data, music with different rhythm and frequency characteristics may prolong QTc intervals in healthy preterm pregnant women and may add to other risk factors (e.g., preexisting QTc prolongation or application of QTc prolonging drugs). These data could prove to be relevant in the primary prevention recommendations for women at risk for arrhythmic patterns during pregnancy.

Corresponding author: Franziska Rhomberg, Department of Cardiology, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria, Phone: +43-1-404 00-4616, Fax: +43-1-404 00-4216, E-mail:


The authors wish to thank the company Philips for providing the impedance cardiography device.


[1] Kallergis EM, Goudis CA, Simantirakis EN, Kochiadakis GE, Vardas PE. Mechanisms, risk factors, and management of acquired long QT syndrome: a comprehensive review. Sci World J. 2012;2012:212178.10.1100/2012/212178Search in Google Scholar

[2] Curtis AB, Narasimha D. Arrhythmias in women. Clin Cardiol. 2012;35:166–71.10.1016/B978-1-4377-0285-9.00052-1Search in Google Scholar

[3] Shotan A, Ostrzega E, Mehra A, Johnson JV, Elkayam U. Incidence of arrhythmias in normal pregnancy and relation to palpitations, dizziness, and syncope. Am J Cardiol. 1997;79:1061–4.10.1016/S0002-9149(97)00047-7Search in Google Scholar

[4] Adamson DL, Nelson-Piercy C. Managing palpitations and arrhythmias during pregnancy. Postgrad Med J. 2008;84:66–72.10.1136/hrt.2006.098822Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[5] Hatem TP, Lira PIC, Mattos SS. The therapeutic effects of music in children following cardiac surgery. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2006;82:186–92.10.2223/JPED.1473Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[6] Koch ME, Kain ZN, Ayoub C, Rosenbaum SH. The sedative and analgesic sparing effect of music. Anesthesiology. 1998;89:300–6.10.1097/00000542-199808000-00005Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[7] McCaffrey R, Freeman E. Effect of music on chronic osteoarthritis pain in older people. J Adv Nurs. 2003;44:517–24.10.1046/j.0309-2402.2003.02835.xSearch in Google Scholar PubMed

[8] Voss JA, Good M, Yates B, Baun MM, Thompson A, Hertzog M. Sedative music reduces anxiety and pain during chair rest after open-heart surgery. Pain. 2004;112:197–203.10.1016/j.pain.2004.08.020Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[9] Siedliecki SL, Good M. Effect of music on power, pain, depression and disability. J Adv Nurs. 2006;54:553–62.10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03860.xSearch in Google Scholar PubMed

[10] McCaffrey R. The effect of music on acute confusion in older adults after hip or knee surgery. Appl Nurs Res. 2009;22:107–12.10.1016/j.apnr.2007.06.004Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[11] Ebneshahidi A, Mohseni M. The effect of patient-selected music on early postoperative pain, anxiety, and hemodynamic profile in cesarean section surgery. J Altern Complement Med. 2008;14:827–31.10.1089/acm.2007.0752Search in Google Scholar

[12] Allen K, Golden LH, Izzo JL Jr, Ching MI, Forrest A, Niles CR, et al. Normalization of hypertensive responses during ambulatory surgical stress by perioperative music. Psychosom Med. 2001;63:487–92.10.1097/00006842-200105000-00019Search in Google Scholar

[13] Miluk-Kolasa B, Obminski Z, Stupnicki R, Golec L. Effects of music treatment on salivary cortisol in patients exposed to pre-surgical stress. Exp Clin Endocrinol. 1994;102:118–20.10.1055/s-0029-1211273Search in Google Scholar

[14] Sokhadze EM. Effects of music on the recovery of autonomic and electrocortical activity after stress induced by aversive visual stimuli. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2007;32:31–50.10.1007/s10484-007-9033-ySearch in Google Scholar

[15] Sagie A, Larson MG, Goldberg RJ, Bengtson JR, Levy D. An improved method for adjusting the QT interval for heart rate (the Framingham Heart Study). Am J Cardiol. 1992;70:797–801.10.1016/0002-9149(92)90562-DSearch in Google Scholar

[16] Drew BJ, Ackerman MJ, Funk M, Gibler WB, Kligfield P, Menon V, et al. Prevention of torsade de pointes in hospital settings: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation. 2010;121:1047–60.10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192704Search in Google Scholar

[17] Honig PK, Wortham DC, Zamani K, Conner DP, Mullin JC, Cantilena LR. Terfenadine-ketoconazole interaction. Pharmacokinetic and electrocardiographic consequences. J Am Med Assoc. 1993;269:1513–18.10.1001/jama.269.12.1513Search in Google Scholar

[18] Browne KF, Zipes DP, Heger JJ, Prystowsky EN. Influence of the autonomic nervous system on the Q-T interval in man. Am J Cardiol. 1982;50:1099–103.10.1016/0002-9149(82)90425-8Search in Google Scholar

[19] Bexton RS, Vallin HO, Camm AJ. Diurnal variation of the QT interval–influence of the autonomic nervous system. Br Heart J. 1986;55:253–8.10.1136/hrt.55.3.253Search in Google Scholar

[20] Browne KF, Prystowsky E, Heger JJ, Chilson DA, Zipes DP. Prolongation of the Q-T interval in man during sleep. Am J Cardiol. 1983;52:55–9.10.1016/0002-9149(83)90068-1Search in Google Scholar

[21] Barnason S, Zimmerman L, Nieveen J. The effects of music interventions on anxiety in the patient after coronary artery bypass grafting. Heart Lung J Crit Care. 1995;24:124–32.10.1016/S0147-9563(05)80007-XSearch in Google Scholar

[22] Bernardi L, Porta C, Sleight P. Cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory changes induced by different types of music in musicians and non-musicians: the importance of silence. Heart. 2006;92:445–52.10.1136/hrt.2005.064600Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[23] Escher J, Evéquoz D. [Music and heart rate variability. Study of the effect of music on heart rate variability in healthy adolescents]. Praxis. 1999;88:951–2.Search in Google Scholar

[24] Krumhansl CL. An exploratory study of musical emotions and psychophysiology. Can J Exp Psychol. 1997;51:336–53.10.1037/1196-1961.51.4.336Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[25] Poreba A, Dudkiewicz D, Drygalski M. The influence of the sounds of music on chosen cardiotocographic parameters in mature pregnancies. Ginekol Pol. 2000;71:915–20.Search in Google Scholar

The authors stated that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this article.

Received: 2014-6-12
Accepted: 2014-11-3
Published Online: 2014-12-3
Published in Print: 2016-8-1

©2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 6.6.2023 from
Scroll to top button