Effects of Tai Chi training on exercise capacity and quality of life in patients with chronic heart failure: a meta-analysis

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AimWhether Tai Chi (TC) is effective in the cardiac rehabilitation of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) remains controversial. We performed a meta-analysis to examine the effects of TC on exercise capacity and quality of life (QoL) in CHF patients.Methods and resultsPubMed and EMBASE databases were searched (up to May 2012) for relevant studies. Studies including participants with reduced left ventricular systolic function (ejection fraction ≤45%) were selected. Interventions considered were TC with or without comparisons (education or usual care). Weighted mean differences (WMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated, and heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 test. Four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (n = 242) met the inclusion criteria. TC significantly improved QoL (WMD –14.54 points; 95% CI –23.45 to –5.63). TC was not associated with a significant reduction in N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (WMD –61.16 pg/mL; 95% CI –179.27 to 56.95), systolic blood pressure (WMD –1.06 mmHg; 95% CI –13.76 to 11.63), diastolic blood pressure (WMD –0.08 mmHg; 95% CI –3.88 to 3.73), improved 6 min walking distance (WMD 46.73 m; 95% CI –1.62 to 95.09), or peak oxygen uptake (WMD 0.19 mL/kg/min; 95% CI –0.74 to 1.13).ConclusionsTC may improve QoL in patients with CHF and could be considered for inclusion in cardiac rehabilitation programmes. However, there is currently a lack of evidence to support TC altering other important clinical outcomes. Further larger RCTs are urgently needed to investigate the effects of TC.

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