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Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:195-208. doi: 10.1159/000134300.

T'ai Chi exercise in patients with chronic heart failure.

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Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies, Harvard Medical School, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



To review the physiological and psychosocial effects of a 12-week T'ai Chi program (TC) in patients with heart failure (HF) as previously reported in a clinical trial.


We randomized 30 patients with chronic HF (left ventricular ejection fraction < or =40%) to receive TC plus usual care (n = 15), or usual care alone (wait-list control, n = 15). Outcome measures included quality of life, exercise capacity, B-type natriuretic peptide, catecholamine levels, heart rate variability, and sleep stability.


The mean age (+/-SD) of patients was 64 +/- 13 years, mean baseline ejection fraction (+/-SD) was 23 +/- 7%, and median New York Heart Association Class was 2 (range 1-4). At 12 weeks, patients who participated in TC showed improved quality of life (mean change -17 +/- 11 vs. 8 +/- 15, Minnesota Living with HF Questionnaire, p = 0.001), increased exercise capacity (mean change 85 +/- 46 vs. -51 +/-58 m, 6-min walk, p = 0.001), and decreased B-type natriuretic peptide (mean change -48 +/- 104 vs. 90 +/- 333 pg/ml, p = 0.03) compared to the control group. Those who participated in TC also showed improvement in sleep stability (increase in high-frequency coupling +0.05 +/- 0.10 vs. -0.06 +/- 0.09 proportion of estimated total sleep time, p = 0.04; reduction in low-frequency coupling -0.09 +/- 0.09 vs. +0.13 +/- 0.13 proportion of estimated total sleep time, p < 0.01), compared to the control group.


TC may enhance quality of life, exercise capacity, and sleep stability in patients with chronic HF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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