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A relaxation response randomized trial on chronic heart failure patients

Bei-Hung Chang1, Ann Hendricks, PhD2, Yue Zhao1, James A Rothendler2, Joseph S LoCastro3, and Mara T Slawsky3. (1) Health Services, Boston University, 200 Springs Road (152), Building 70, Bedford, MA 01730, 781-275-7500x6007, bhchang@bu.edu, (2) Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, & Economic Research (CHQOER), Department of Veterans Affairs & Boston University School of Public Health, 200 Springs Road (152), Bedford, MA 01730, (3) VA Boston Health Care System, 150 S. Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of a relaxation response (RR) intervention on the quality of life (QoL) and exercise capacity of chronic heart failure (CHF) patients. Methods: We conducted a 3-arm, randomized trial in the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. Between April 2000 and June 2002, 95 CHF outpatients enrolled in the trial (mean age 69 years, 99% male) and were randomized into one of the three study groups. Patients in the intervention group attended a weekly RR group for 15 weeks and were requested to practice the techniques at home twice a day. Two control groups were used: a 15-week cardiac education program (EDU) and a usual care group (UC). The study outcomes were change scores between baseline and after intervention in 3 domains of QoL and exercise capacity measured by a bicycle test. Results: Eighty-three (87%) of the 95 enrolled patients completed both baseline and post-intervention measures (31 RR, 24 EDU, and 28 UC). The QoL change scores in mental (6.34,4.23,-2.61), emotional (1.02,.62,-1.62), and peace-spiritual (1.80,.57,-1.18) scales adjusting the baseline score and time between two assessments were highest in RR, followed by EDU then UC. Differences between the RR and UC groups were statistically significant at the 5% and near 10% level (p=.04, .12, and .02). No statistically significant intervention effect on physical QoL scales or exercise capacity was observed. Conclusions: The efficacy of a RR intervention was evident in the mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of QoL but not in the physical health dimension or exercise capacity.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Clinical Trails

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Alternative and Complementary Health Practices and Chronic Diseases

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA