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J Card Fail. 2005 Aug;11(6):432-6.

Safety and efficacy of repeated sauna bathing in patients with chronic systolic heart failure: a preliminary report.

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1
The Third Department of Internal Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We sought to determine the safety and efficacy of repeated 60 degrees C sauna bathing in patients with chronic systolic congestive heart failure (CHF).

METHODS AND RESULTS:

This study included 15 hospitalized CHF patients (New York Heart Association class = 2.8 +/- 0.4) in stable clinical condition on conventional treatments. Sauna bathing was performed once per day for 4 weeks. Repeated sauna bathing was safely completed without any adverse effects in all patients. Symptoms improved in 13 of 15 patients after 4 weeks. Sauna bathing decreased systolic blood pressure without affecting heart rate, resulting in significant decrease in the rate-pressure product (6811 +/- 1323 to 6292 +/- 1093). Echocardiographic left ventricular ejection fraction was significantly increased from 30 +/- 11 to 34 +/- 11%. Sauna bathing significantly improved exercise tolerance manifested by prolonged 6-minute walking distance (388 +/- 110 to 448 +/- 118 m), increased peak respiratory oxygen uptake (13.3 +/- 1.8 to 16.3 +/- 2.1 mL/kg/min), and enhanced anaerobic threshold (9.4 +/- 1.2 to 11.5 +/- 1.9 mL/kg/min). Four-week bathing significantly reduced plasma epinephrine (40 +/- 42 to 21 +/- 23 pg/mL) and norepinephrine (633 +/- 285 to 443 +/- 292 pg/mL). Sauna bathing reduced the number of hospital admission for CHF (2.5 +/- 1.3 to 0.6 +/- 0.8 per year).

CONCLUSION:

Repeated 60 degrees C sauna bathing was safe and improved symptoms and exercise tolerance in chronic CHF patients. Sauna bathing may be an effective adjunctive therapy for chronic systolic CHF.

PMID:
16105634
DOI:
10.1016/j.cardfail.2005.03.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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