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  1. Bronas, Ulf G. PhD, ATC
  2. Everett, Steve DMA
  3. Steffen, Alana PhD
  4. Briller, Joan MD
  5. Hannan, Mary MSN, APN, AGACNP-BC
  6. Hernandez, Alison MS, RN
  7. Collins, Eileen PhD, RN


Purpose: Patients with claudication have altered gait, characterized by slower pace and shorter stride length, compared with matched controls. Rhythmic auditory music stimulation has been used successfully to reduce symptoms of pain and improve walking ability in patients with neurological gait alterations. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that rhythmic auditory music stimulation via increased tempo and bass would immediately increase total walking distance in patients with claudication compared with music-without rhythm-enhancement condition or a no-music condition (standard).


Methods: Fourteen patients with claudication (mean age = 66.1 +/- 7.7 y; ankle-brachial index = 0.63 +/- 17) underwent three 6-min walk tests on the same day in random order. One with music-without rhythm enhancement with the tempo set at the usual walking cadence of the patient, one without music, and one with rhythmically enhanced music with the tempo increased 10 to 15 beats/min above the usual walking cadence of the patient. This increase in tempo is considered imperceptible to the untrained ear.


Results: The paired t test indicated an increase in total walking distance by 22.1 +/- 25.4 m (P = .006) during the rhythmic auditory stimulation condition compared with the no-music condition and by 20.7 +/- 24.4 m compared with the music-without enhancement condition (P = .007). Functional claudication distance increased by 40.0 +/- 49.0 m during the rhythmically enhanced music condition (P = .009) compared with the no-music condition.


Conclusions: These results suggest that rhythmic auditory stimulation immediately increases total walking distance in patients with claudication due to peripheral artery disease. This technology may provide a tool for clinicians to use when prescribing exercise, improve motivation, and increase adherence to exercise rehabilitation programs.