“Yoga improves quality of life in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, according to research published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. Heart rate and blood pressure also decreased in patients who did yoga.”
The article continues, “‘AF episodes are accompanied by chest pain, dyspnoea and dizziness,’ continued Ms Wahlström. ‘These symptoms are unpleasant and patients feel anxious, worried and stressed that an AF episode will occur. Most patients are still working and take sick leave to visit the hospital. Many patients with AF use complementary therapies so it is necessary to find out if they actually help.’
AF is the most common cardiac rhythm disorder, affecting 1.5-2% of the general population in the developed world. There is no cure for AF, and management focuses on relief of symptoms and the prevention of complications such as stroke using cardioversion, ablation and medication.
Patients with paroxysmal AF experience episodes of AF that usually last less than 48 hours and stop by themselves, although in some patients they can last up to seven days. The current study included 80 patients with paroxysmal AF who were randomised to yoga or a control group that did not do yoga. Both groups received standard treatment with medication, cardioversion and catheter ablation as needed.”
The findings: “Ms Wahlström said: ‘We found that patients who did yoga had a better quality of life, lower heart rate and lower blood pressure than patients who did not do yoga. If could be that the deep breathing balances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, leading to less variation in heart rate. The breathing and movement may have beneficial effects on blood pressure.'”
The article closes, “Ms Wahlström concluded: A lot of the patients I meet who have paroxysmal AF are very stressed. Yoga should be offered as a complementary therapy to help them relax. It may also reduce their visits to hospital by lowering their anxiety until an AF episode stops.'”
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European Society of Cardiology. “Yoga improves quality of life in patients with atrial fibrillation: Heart rate, blood pressure also decreased in patients who did yoga.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160314085041.htm>.