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BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2019 Apr 4. pii: bmjspcare-2018-001685. doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2018-001685. [Epub ahead of print]

Tai Chi for heart attack survivors: qualitative insights.

Author information

1
Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA lisaconboy@gmail.com.
2
New England School of Acupuncture, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.
3
Miriam Hospital, Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
4
Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
5
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programmes are standard of care for patients following a coronary event. While such exercise-based secondary prevention programme do offer benefits, they are used by less than 30% of eligible patients and attrition within these programmes is high. This project is a nested qualitative assessment of a pilot programme considering Tai Chi (TC) as an alternative to CR. We hypothesised that TC may overcome several key barriers to CR.

METHODS:

A semistructured focus group agenda was used to assess three key domains of feasibility: (1) patients' experiences, (2) reasons/barriers for not having attended CR and (3) any improvements in physical activity and other secondary outcomes (quality of life, weight, sleep). A thematic analysis was used to better understand the key concepts.

RESULTS:

This high-risk group of patients reported that they enjoyed TC exercise, and felt confident and safe doing it. TC practice was reported to support other types of physical activity allowing for a generalisation of positive effects.

DISCUSSION:

This analysis is consistent with published reports of TC practice improving mood and psychological well-being. Qualitative methods allowed us to find emergent experiential reports of behaviour change factors found in established behaviour change theories.

KEYWORDS:

cardiac rehabilitation; integrative medicine; rehabilitation

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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