Yoga buffs can take heart out of this clinical trial

Yoga buffs can take heart out of this clinical trial

The results of multi-centre clinical trial on cardiac rehabilitation, spread over 50 months, showed that the patients with intense Yoga were less susceptible to cardiac ailments. DH file photo

Giving credence to the theories on the integration of traditional medicine with modern forms of treatment, the researchers from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) have successfully demonstrated the positive effect of Yoga on cardiac patients.

Carrying out the world’s largest multi-centre clinical trial on cardiac rehabilitation, spanning over 50 months, comprising about 4,000 patients of 18 to 80 years age group, the researchers proved that patients under intense Yoga care were less susceptible to cardiac ailments compared to those under standard medical care.

The trial titled ‘Effectiveness of Yoga-based Cardiac Rehabilitation (Yoga-CaRe) Programme was conducted from August-2014 to September-2018 in as many as 24 centres, including five centres in Karnataka. Explaining the study, Dr D Prbhakaran, vice president, PHFI said, “The concept of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is non-existent in Indian scenario owing to high cost and need for a multi-disciplinary team. But our study has shown that Yoga can be a better alternative to the conventional cardiac rehabilitation programmes and address the unmet needs of CR for patients from middle and low-income groups. It is relatively a safe, inexpensive and does not need high-cost infrastructure besides being culturally acceptable.”

Study findings

The findings of the study were first presented at the recent session of the American Heart Association in the presence of global experts on cardiac issues.

“Patients, for the trial, who suffered heart attack 14 days ago were chosen for the study including those who had undergone stenting and angiogram procedures. All the patients were subjected through 13 sessions of Yoga with each session spanning for two hours. While the actual Yoga practices would be for 70 minutes, the rest of the time was utilized for co-clinical procedures ranging from warm-up to confidence building consultations. Initially, the physicians were sceptical about the study and its effectiveness. But the results have not only proved them wrong but demonstrated the effectiveness of Yoga with concrete evidence,” Dr Prabhakar briefed.

Quality of life

The patients, at the end of the study, were tested for quality of life as per the European Quality of Life standards, are they capable of returning to pre-infarct activities like before.

“The patients responded positively under all parameters. The Yoga training was given along with regular medicine and diet programmes. Those who had undergone 70 per cent of the 13 sessions had positive changes,’’ he said.

“Generally, the cardiac patients are more prone to excessive sympathetic reactions and sessions in Yoga will help them control on reacting to such situations by influencing neurological functions,” Dr Prabhakar explained.

The only limitation of the study was the less number of women patients.

“There were issues like they need to be accompanied by others; timings had come on their way of participation. But contrary to the belief, women have a higher risk of dying in the years following a heart attack and we need to devise means of increasing their participation and uptake of Yoga,” Dr Prabhakar clarified.

The study was explained to public health practitioners from Karnataka on Thursday during a day-long workshop on ‘Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) prevention and control in Karnataka’ organised by the Indian Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru, by Karnataka Chapter of Public Health Foundation of India.