Blog | Thursday, January 31, 2013

QD: News Every Day--Yoga may diminish afib symptoms, improve quality of life

Yoga improves symptoms and quality of life issues in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, a single-center, pre-post study found.

To put some hard numbers to the concept that exercise might provide a cardiological benefit, researchers enrolled patients with symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation into a 3-month observation period followed by twice-weekly 60-minute yoga training for next three months.

Results appeared online Jan. 30 at the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Among 49 patients who completed the study, yoga reduced symptomatic atrial fibrillation episodes (3.8 +/- 3 vs. 2.1 +/- 2.6, P less than 0.001), symptomatic non-atrial fibrillation episodes (2.9 +/- 3.4 vs. 1.4 +/- 2.0; P +/- 0.001), asymptomatic atrial fibrillation episodes (0.12 +/- 0.44 vs. 0.04 +/- 0.20; P less than or equal to 0.001), and depression and anxiety (P less than 0.001)

There was significant decrease in heart rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure before and after yoga (P less than 0.001).

Quality of life parameters as measured by the SF-36 improved, including physical functioning (P=0.017), general health (P less than 0.001), vitality (P less than 0.001), social functioning (P=0.019), and mental health domains (P less than 0.001). Researchers wrote, "This is likely the benefit from the emotionally supportive atmosphere at yoga training centers, and the positive impact by the caring relationships, change in diet and life style modification associated with yoga practice on physiological parameters cannot be underestimated."

Researchers concluded, "These findings underscore the therapeutic value of a low-cost noninvasive therapy such as yoga to effectively complement the conventional treatment strategies in improving atrial fibrillation patient care. Given the high prevalence of atrial fibrillation and costs of conventional therapy, the public health relevance of these findings is very pertinent."