Tai Chi Chuan improves functional capacity after myocardial infarction

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Patients with a recent myocardial infarction (MI) present a reduction in functional capacity expressed as a decrease in peak oxygen consumption (Vo2 peak). The impact of a Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) cardiac rehabilitation program for patients recovering from recent MI has yet to be assessed. Our goal is to evaluate functional capacity after a TCC-based cardiac rehabilitation program in patients with recent MI.

A single-blind randomized clinical trial was conducted. The researchers who performed the tests were blinded to group allocation. Between the 14th and 21st days after hospital discharge, all patients performed a cardiopulmonary exercise testing and a laboratory blood workup. Mean age was similar (56±9 years in the TCC group and 60±9 years in the control group). Patients allocated to the intervention group performed 3 weekly sessions of TCC Beijin style for 12 weeks (n=31). The control group participated in 3 weekly sessions of full-body stretching exercises (n=30). Click to learn how Chinese medicine treats Myocardial Infarction

After the 12-week study period, participants in the TCC group experienced a significant 14% increase in Vo2 peak from baseline (21.6 ± 5.2 to 24.6 ± 5.2 mL/kg per minute), whereas control participants had a nonsignificant 5% decline in Vo2 peak (20.4 ± 5.1 to 19.4 ± 4.4 mL/kg per minute). There was a significant difference between the 2 groups (P<.0001).

Tai Chi Chuan practice was associated with an increase in Vo2 peak in patients with a recent MI and may constitute an effective form of cardiac rehabilitation in this patient population.
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