Efficacy of Guided Imagery With Theta Music for Advanced Cancer Patients With Dyspnea: A Pilot Study.


Abstract: Dyspnea is a frequent and devastating symptom among advanced cancer patients for which improved and low-cost palliative techniques are needed. Methods: A one-group repeated measures research design investigated the efficacy of guided imagery (GI) with theta music (M) on dyspnea in advanced cancer patients. The intervention consisted of four periods: (a) pretest; (b) intervention with peaceful non-M; (c) intervention with 10 min of GI with M (GI/M), with the first and last 3 min being M only (i.e., the middle 4 min was GI/M); and (d) posttest. Dyspnea outcome was measured with the Modified Borg Scale (MBS) for self-reported evaluation of dyspneic symptoms. Physiological parameters measured were pulse oxygen saturation (SpO2), end-tidal CO2 (EtCO2), heart rate (HR), and respiratory rate (RR). Posttest qualitative data were obtained via interview for subjective patient experience. Results: Participants included 53 patients, 33% with lung cancer. GI/M produced a significant decrease in MBS scores; 90% of the subjects gave positive qualitative reviews of GI/M. SpO2 did not change significantly over time. GI/M significantly increased EtCO2, decreased RR, and decreased HR. Discussion: This study demonstrates that GI/M is a useful intervention for palliative care of patients with dyspnea. M alone was demonstrated to be effective, while soothing non-M was not effective. GI/M was more effective than M alone. GI/M should be considered low-cost end-of-life palliative care for dyspnea.


Biological Research for Nursing


Biol Res Nurs. 2010 May 7.

Resource Type:

Journal Article


Lai WS, Chao CS, Yang WP, Chen CH.