Heart DiseaseTai Chi

Tai chi for heart failure patients

Preliminary evidence suggests that meditative exercise may have benefits for patients with chronic systolic heart failure

Researchers in Boston, Massachusetts, investigated whether tai chi, in addition to standard care, improves functional capacity and quality of life in these patients.

First, the details.

  • 100 patients with systolic heart failure(New York Heart Associationclass I-III, mild to moderate heart failure) were assigned to a treatment group.
    • 12-week tai chi exercise program
    • Education control group
  • Exercise capacity (6-minute walk test and peak oxygen uptake [VO2 max]) and disease-specific quality of life (Minnesota Living With Heart Failure Questionnaire).
    • VO2 is the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during exercise.
  • The researchers were not aware of the treatment given — single-blind.

And, the results.

  • There were no significant differences in change in6-minute walk distance and peak oxygen uptake between groups.
  • The tai chi group had significantly greater improvements in quality of life.
  • Significant improvements with tai chi were also seen in exercise self-efficacy and mood.


The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Tai chi exercise may improve quality of life,mood, and exercise self-efficacy in patients with heart failure.”

An earlier review by researchers at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, concluded, “Preliminary evidence suggests that tai chi exercise may be a beneficial adjunctive therapy for some patients with cardiovascular disease or risk factors.”

The results of this study in patients with heart failure supports their conclusion.

4/27/11 21:54 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.