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Acta Cardiol. 2014 Jun;69(3):299-307.

Biofeedback on heart rate variability in cardiac rehabilitation: practical feasibility and psycho-physiological effects.



Biofeedback is a self-regulation therapy by which the patient learns how to optimize the functioning of his autonomic nervous system. It has been applied to patients with various cardiovascular disorders. The purpose of this study was to investigate the practical feasibility and the psychophysiological effects of biofeedback applied to heart rate variability (HRV biofeedback) in order to increase cardiac coherence in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients participating in a cardiac rehabilitation programme.


In this randomised and controlled study, 31 CAD patients were randomly assigned to an experimental or to a control group. The experimental group participated in a programme of 10 sessions of cardiac coherence biofeedback training, in addition to the rehabilitation programme. The control group participated in the usual cardiac rehabilitation programme only. Physiological variables (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, SDNN) and psychosocial variables (anxiety, depression, type D personality) were measured at the start and at the end of the programme in both groups. Statistical comparisons assessed the inter and intra group differences. The small sample size precludes any firm conclusions concerning the effect of cardiac coherence biofeedback on physiological or psychological variables. However, we observed a significant increase of the percentage of cardiac coherence, in relation with an increased SDNN index.


Our study demonstrated the practical feasibility of cardiac coherence biofeedback training in CAD patients. Further research is desirable to investigate the potential benefit of cardiac coherence biofeedback as an adjunct to stress management in cardiac rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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