Tai Chi Based Cardiac Rehabilitation Improved Functional Capacity After Heart Attack

Ricardo Stein, MD, ScD Exercise Cardiology Research Group, Cardiology Division Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, RS, BrazilMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ricardo Stein, MD, ScD

Exercise Cardiology Research Group, Cardiology Division
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre,
Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Stein: Patients with a recent myocardial infarction (MI) present a reduction in functional capacity expressed as a decrease in peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak). The impact of a Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) cardiac rehabilitation program for patients recovering from recent MI has yet to be assessed. Our goal was to evaluate functional capacity after a TCC-based cardiac rehabilitation program in patients with recent non complicated MI.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?

Dr. Stein:  After the 12-week study period, participants in the Tai Chi Chuan group experienced a significant 14% increase in VOpeak from baseline (21.6 ± 5.2 to 24.6 ± 5.2 mL.Kg-1.min-1), whereas control participants had a non-significant 5% decline in VOpeak (20.4 ± 5.1 to 19.4 ± 4.4 mL.Kg-1.min-1). There was a significant difference between the two groups (P<0.0001).

As a primary outcome, CPET results for the TCC and control groups at baseline and after the 12-week intervention period leading to a significant difference in peak VO2 (5.2 mL.Kg-1.min-1; 95% CI, 2.8 to 7.7, in favor to TCC group). This difference remained significant after adjustment to baseline measurements, age, gender, diabetes, and smoking (4.1 mL.Kg-1.min-1; 95% CI, 2.6 to 5.6, in favor to TCC group).

Summarizing:

–       We observed a significant increase in VO2 peak in TCC group participants.

–       Our results provide important information data from a randomized clinical trial of Tai Chi Chuan in patients with a history of recent MI.

–       Tai Chi Chuan can be an attractive alternative to cardiac rehabilitation for patients who don’t have access to conventional cardiac rehabilitation programs.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Stein: Tai Chi Chuan practice was associated with an increase in VOpeak in patients with a recent MI and may constitute an effective form of cardiac rehabilitation in this patient population.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Stein: Only a small number of patients have access to rehabilitation programs. In this setting, Tai Chi Chuan can be an appealing alternative for cardiac rehabilitation, since it does not require any equipment (which lowers its cost), can be group-based, and sessions can be held outdoors whenever possible. Taking into account that the vast majority of patients who suffer a MI do not attend rehabilitation programs, any safe, efficient, and easy-to-implement alternatives to conventional rehabilitation is welcome. Nevertheless, the intervention might not be fully reproducible, it is necessary a trained Tai Chi Chuan leader and that the population might not be generalizable. Also, whether this intervention can be practiced in an unsupervised setting after MI needs further investigation. Thus, it is important to mention that this is a small feasibility clinical trial that should be replicated.


Citation:

Tai Chi Chuan Improves Functional Capacity After Myocardial Infarction: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Rosane Maria Nery, Maurice Zanini, Juliana Beust de Lima, Raquel Petry Bühler, Anderson Donelli da Silveira, Ricardo Stein
Publication stage: In Press Accepted Manuscript
American Heart Journal
Published online: March 14, 2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ricardo Stein, MD, ScD (2015). Tai Chi Based Cardiac Rehabilitation Improved Functional Capacity After Heart Attack