Yoga improves symptoms of atrial fibrillation

According to a recent study, the movements and breathing during yoga have a positive influence on the symptoms in patients with atrial fibrillation.

16 weeks of training brought a noticeable improvement

According to a recent study, the movements and breathing during yoga have a positive influence on the symptoms in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide. An estimated 25% of middle-aged Europeans will develop atrial fibrillation in their lifetime, according to the statistics.

Atrial fibrillation is also a common cause of stroke, with 20-30% of strokes being caused by this cardiac arrhythmia. Hospitalization due to atrial fibrillation is also common, increasing the risk of death 1.5-fold for men and 2-fold for women.

Symptom control through yoga

Atrial fibrillation usually manifests itself symptomatically as a racing or irregular pulse, fatigue, chest pain, and/or shortness of breath. From the patient's point of view, the symptoms are unpredictable and sometimes lead to considerable anxiety and uncertainty. This considerably restricts the quality of life.

The current study examined 538 patients with atrial fibrillation and the effect of regular yoga training on the symptoms of the disease. For 12 weeks, the subjects had no yoga classes, and then 30 minutes daily for 16 weeks. Symptoms were recorded in a diary and using validated questionnaires. Heartbeat and blood pressure were also recorded.

After the 16 weeks of yoga training, symptoms improved considerably compared to the 12 weeks without yoga. For example, the yoga exercises during the study period reduced the number of symptomatic episodes from 15 to 8. Blood pressure decreased on average by 11/6 mmHg with the help of yoga.  

In practice, the authors, therefore, recommend that yoga be offered as an additional measure for atrial fibrillation, as it obviously has positive mental and physical effects. 

Source: ESC 2020

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