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NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2016 Dec 1;26:16080. doi: 10.1038/npjpcrm.2016.80.

Singing for Lung Health-a systematic review of the literature and consensus statement.

Author information

NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London, London, UK.
Respiratory Medicine, Whittington Health, London, UK.
Southampton Integrated COPD Service, Solent NHS Trust, Southampton, UK.
British Lung Foundation, London, UK.
Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK.


There is growing interest in Singing for Lung Health (SLH), an approach where patients with respiratory disease take part in singing groups, intended to improve their condition. A consensus group was convened in early 2016 to address issues including: the specific features that make SLH distinct from other forms of participation in singing; the existing evidence base via a systematic review; gaps in the evidence base including the need to define value-based outcome measures for sustainable commissioning of SLH; defining the measures needed to evaluate both individuals' responses to SLH and the quality of singing programmes. and core training, expertise and competencies required by singing group leaders to deliver high-quality programmes. A systematic review to establish the extent of the evidence base for SLH was undertaken. Electronic databases, including Pubmed, OVID Medline and Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane central register of controlled trials and PEDro, were used. Six studies were included in the final review. Quantitative data suggest that singing has the potential to improve health-related quality of life, particularly related to physical health, and levels of anxiety without causing significant side effects. There is a significant risk of bias in many of the existing studies with small numbers of subjects overall. Little comparison can be made between studies owing to their heterogeneity in design. Qualitative data indicate that singing is an enjoyable experience for patients, who consistently report that it helps them to cope with their condition better. Larger and longer-term trials are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

PC and JR have both been employed by leading singing groups for people with respiratory disease and so have a direct commercial interest in the promotion of singing as an intervention within the NHS. AM Russell reports grants from Boehringer Ingelheim, personal fees from Roche and grants from British Lung Foundation, outside the submitted work. The other authors declare no conflict of interest.

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