A Tai Chi Chuan-based cardiac rehabilitation program was associated with an increase in peak oxygen consumption, a marker of functional capacity, in patients with recent MI.
Researchers conducted a single blind randomized clinical trial of patients with recent MI. After being out of the hospital for 14 to 21 days, all patients underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing and laboratory blood analysis. They were then assigned to three weekly sessions of Tai Chi Chuan Beijin style for 12 weeks (n = 31; mean age, 56 years; 80% men) or to three weekly sessions of full-body stretching exercise (n = 30; mean age, 60 years; 63% men).
The primary outcome was change in peak oxygen consumption (peak VO2) at 12 weeks.
Mean attendance rates were 95% in the Tai Chi Chuan group and 97% in the control group, according to the researchers.
At 12 weeks, the Tai Chi Chuan group had a 14% increase in peak VO2 compared with baseline (21.6 mL/kg/min to 24.6 mL/kg/min), whereas the control group had a 5% decline in peak VO2 compared with baseline (20.4 mL/kg/min to 19.4 mL/kg/minute; difference; P < .0001 for interaction), Rosane Maria Nery, PhD, of the exercise cardiology research group at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil, and colleagues found.
The results did not change after adjustment for baseline measurements, age, sex, diabetes and smoking (difference, 4.1 mL/kg/min; 95% CI, 2.6-5.6).
“This suggests that [Tai Chi Chuan] may improve aerobic capacity in the post-MI setting and can do so safely, at least in the short term, as there were no adverse effects attributable to the study intervention,” Nery and colleagues wrote. “The mechanisms underlying this improvement have yet to be fully elucidated, involving both central and peripheral effects of [Tai Chi Chuan].” – by Erik Swain
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.