Yoga in Heart Failure Patients: A Pilot Study.

Author: Howie-Esquivel J, Lee J, Collier G, Mehling W, Fleischmann K.
Department of Physiological Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Conference/Journal: J Card Fail.
Date published: 2010 Sep
Other: Volume ID: 16 , Issue ID: 9 , Pages: 742-749 , Word Count: 193

BACKGROUND: Complementary therapies such as yoga practice have become commonplace, yet the safety, physical, and psychological effects on patients with heart failure (HF) are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an 8-week yoga program was safe and would positively influence physical and psychological function in HF patients.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Stable HF patients were recruited (n = 15) and completed (n = 12) 8 weeks of yoga classes. Data collected were: safety (cardiac and orthopedic adverse events); physical function (strength, balance, endurance, flexibility); and psychological function (quality of life [QOL], depression scores, mindfulness) before and after 8 weeks of yoga classes.

RESULTS: Mean age was 52.4 +/- 11.6 with three-fourths (n = 9) being male and Caucasian. No participant had any adverse events. Endurance (P < .02) and strength (upper P = .04 and lower body P = .01) significantly improved. Balance improved by 13.6 seconds (26.9 +/- 19.7 to 40.0 +/- 18.5; P = .05). Symptom stability, a subscale of QOL, improved significantly (P = .02). Although no subject was depressed, overall mood was improved. Subjects subjectively reported improvements in overall well-being.

CONCLUSIONS: Yoga practice was safe, with participants experiencing improved physical function and symptom stability. Larger studies are warranted to provide more nonpharmacological options for improved outcomes in patients with HF.