Yoga therapy may improve physical well-being and left ventricular function among heart failure patients according to a study
Adding yoga therapy as a complementary treatment for heart failure and heart diseases is beneficial, according to a study led by a scientist at the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
Heart failure is a form of cardiovascular disease where the heart muscle is either too weak or too stiff to pump properly, often leading to fluid buildup, shortness of breath and other complications.
Ajit Singh, a research scientist for the ICMR at Kasturba Medical College & Hospital in Karnataka, conducted the study on 75 patients, aged between 30 to 75 years, at a tertiary care centre in south India.
“Yoga therapy may improve physical well-being and left ventricular function among heart failure patients on guideline-directed optimal medical therapy,” said Singh, the lead author.
The findings will be presented at the American College of Cardiology Asia 2023 conference to be held from September 29-30 in Manila.
All the patients underwent coronary intervention, revascularisation, or device therapy within the previous six months to one year along with a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of more than 45 per cent. The interventional group included 35 participants (31 men and 4 women) received yoga therapy and guideline-directed medical therapy. While the non-interventional group included 40 participants (30 men and 10 women) only continued with standard guideline-directed medical therapy.
Echocardiographic parameters were compared at various follow-ups to see the impact of yoga therapy on heart failure patients.
Participants in the yoga group taught selected yoga therapy like pranayama, meditation and relaxation techniques. Each session lasted around 60 minutes and participants were supervised for one week at the training centre before being asked to continue self-administered yoga at home.
Then, researchers measured quality of life improvements using the World Health Organisation Quality of Life questionnaire and found participants in the yoga group had improvement in endurance, strength, balance, symptom stability and quality of life. Interestingly, they also observed that while patients improved physically and psychologically, there was no improvement in social and environmental health.
“This study proves that the addition of yoga therapy to standard medical management of heart failure leads to an improvement in left ventricular systolic function and quality of life in heart failure patients,” Singh said.
“Our patients observed improvement in systolic blood pressure and heart rate compared to patients who were on medication without yoga,” he added.