The effect of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory function in patients with coronary artery bypass surgery

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 May;31(5):634-8. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199905000-00002.


Purpose: This study prospectively evaluated the training effect of a 1-yr Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) program for low-risk patients with coronary artery bypass surgery (CABS) after a postoperative outpatient (phase II) cardiac rehabilitation program.

Methods: Twenty patients with mean age of 56.5+/-7.4 yr completed this study. The TCC group included nine men who practiced classical Yang TCC with an exercise intensity of 48-57% heart rate range (HRR). The control group included 11 men whom were recommended to do a home-based self-adjusted exercise program with similar intensity of phase II cardiac rehabilitation. Graded exercise tests were performed before and after 1 yr of training for all subjects.

Results: Mean attendance of the TCC group was 3.8+/-1.5 times weekly in contrast to 1.7+/-1.1 times for the control group. During the follow-up examination, the TCC group increased 10.3% in VO2peak (from 26.2+/-4.4 to 28.9+/-5.0 mL x kg(-1) min(-1), P<0.01) and increased 11.9% in peak work rate (from 135+/-26 W to 151+/-28 W, P<0.01). However, the control group showed slight decrease in VO2peak from 26.0+/-3.9 to 25.6+/-4.6 mL x kg(-1) x min(-1) and in peak work rate from 131+/-23 W to 128+/-32 W. At the ventilatory threshold, the TCC group also showed significant increase in VO2 and work rate (P<0.05). The control group did not significantly change in these variables.

Conclusions: The study demonstrated that a 1-yr TCC program for low-risk patients with CABS could favorably enhance cardiorespiratory function.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass*
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Heart Diseases / surgery*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Martial Arts*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration*