Study Shows Yoga Is Beneficial for AFib Patients

A study published on Jan. 30 in the Journal of American College of Cardiology showed that yoga is beneficial for atrial fibrillation (AFib) burden, quality of life (QoL), depression, and anxiety scores, and helps to improve overall AFib symptoms.

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The YOGA My Heart Study consisted of 49 eligible paroxysmal AFib patients. Participants initially took part in a three-month non-interventional observation period, followed by 60-minute yoga training, defined as "a combination of structured physical exercises, breathing techniques, and meditation," twice a week for the next three months.

Results showed that yoga training reduced symptomatic AFib episodes (3.8 ± 3 vs. 2.1 ± 2.6, p < 0.001), symptomatic non-AFib episodes (2.9 ± 3.4 vs. 1.4 ± 2.0; p < 0.001), asymptomatic AFib episodes (0.12 ± 0.44 vs. 0.04 ± 0.20; p < 0.001), and depression and anxiety (p < 0.001). In addition, results indicated an improvement in QoL parameters of physical functioning, general health, vitality, social functioning, and mental health domains on SF-36 (p = 0.017, p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p = 0.019, and p < 0.001, respectively). Further, results showed a significant decrease in heart rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure before and after yoga (p < 0.001).

The authors note that since this was a smaller study, a larger, focused randomized study would be beneficial as their study found the practice of yoga helps to improve symptoms and arrhythmia burden, in addition to reducing anxiety and depression and improving the overall QoL in patients with AFib. "Yoga is an effective complementary and alternative therapy in the management of AFib and can be incorporated in comprehensive AFib management strategies," the authors conclude.

Clinical Topics: Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Prevention, Exercise

Keywords: Depression, Exercise, Blood Pressure, Yoga, Heart Rate, Quality of Life, United States, Mental Health, Meditation

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