Thursday, 30 April 2015

Music decreases aortic stiffness and wave reflections

Volume 240, Issue 1, May 2015, Pages 184–189



Music has been related to cardiovascular health and used as adjunct therapy in patients with cardiovascular disease. Aortic stiffness and wave reflections are predictors of cardiovascular risk. We investigated the short-term effect of classical and rock music on arterial stiffness and wave reflections.


Twenty healthy individuals (22.5 ± 2.5 years) were studied on three different occasions and listened to a 30-min music track compilation (classical, rock, or no music for the sham procedure).


Both classical and rock music resulted in a decrease of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) immediately after the end of music listening (all p < 0.01). Augmentation index (AIx) decreased with either classical or rock music in a more sustained way (nadir by 6.0% and 5.8%, respectively, at time zero post-music listening, all p < 0.01). When music preference was taken into consideration, both classical and rock music had a more potent effect on PWV in classical aficionados (by 0.20 m/s, p = 0.003 and 0.13 m/s, p = 0.015, respectively), whereas there was no effect in rock aficionados (all p = NS). Regarding wave reflections, classical music led to a more potent response in classical aficionados (AIx decrease by 9.45%), whereas rock led to a more potent response to rock aficionados (by 10.7%, all p < 0.01).


Music, both classical and rock, decreases aortic stiffness and wave reflections. Effect on aortic stiffness lasts for as long as music is listened to, while classical music has a sustained effect on wave reflections. These findings may have important implications, extending the spectrum of lifestyle modifications that can ameliorate arterial function.


  • Aortic stiffness;
  • Wave reflections;
  • Music;
  • Pulse wave velocity;
  • Augmentation index

Corresponding author. 1st Cardiology Department, Athens Medical School, Hippokration Hospital, Profiti Elia 24, Athens 14575, Greece.