Meditation Complements Cardiac Rehab for Coronary Artery Disease Patients

In HealthDay News
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Benefits include reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression levels, as well as increases in quality of life

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Meditation may benefit participants in traditional cardiovascular rehabilitation programs, according to a study presented at the annual congress of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology, held from April 13 to 15 in Malaga, Spain.

Ana Luisa Vitorino Monteiro, from the University of Lisbon in Portugal, and colleagues evaluated the benefits of meditation in terms of reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression levels, as well as increase in quality of life (QoL), as part of a traditional cardiovascular rehabilitation program. The analysis included 40 patients with coronary artery disease, who were attending an exercise-based cardiovascular rehabilitation program for at least six months, randomly assigned to meditation practice for four months or usual care. The intervention included one month of weekly 90-minute sessions consisting of conscious breathing and compassion meditation (Karuna) followed by three months of at-home daily practice for 20 minutes and a weekly follow-up call. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and four months.

The researchers found that participants in the intervention group experienced a 44 percent reduction in depression levels versus the control group. Additionally, there were significant reductions observed in anxiety (30 percent) and stress levels (31 percent). There was a 60 percent increase seen in the emotional dimension of QoL among intervention participants. Physical QoL did not change between groups.

“It is common to feel low and anxious after being diagnosed with a heart condition,” Monteiro said in a statement. “Our study suggests that meditation could be a useful addition to standard exercise rehabilitation.”

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