Intercessory Prayer and Cardiovascular Disease Progression in a Coronary Care Unit Population: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Mayo Clin Proc. 2001 Dec;76(12):1192-8. doi: 10.4065/76.12.1192.

Abstract

Objective: To determine the effect of intercessory prayer, a widely practiced complementary therapy, on cardiovascular disease progression after hospital discharge.

Patients and methods: In this randomized controlled trial conducted between 1997 and 1999, a total of 799 coronary care unit patients were randomized at hospital discharge to the intercessory prayer group or to the control group. Intercessory prayer, ie, prayer by 1 or more persons on behalf of another, was administered at least once a week for 26 weeks by 5 intercessors per patient. The primary end point after 26 weeks was any of the following: death, cardiac arrest, rehospitalization for cardiovascular disease, coronary revascularization, or an emergency department visit for cardiovascular disease. Patients were divided into a high-risk group based on the presence of any of 5 risk factors (age = or >70 years, diabetes mellitus, prior myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular disease, or peripheral vascular disease) or a low-risk group (absence of risk factors) for subsequent primary events.

Results: At 26 weeks, a primary end point had occurred in 25.6% of the intercessory prayer group and 29.3% of the control group (odds ratio [OR], 0.83 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.60-1.14]; P=.25). Among high-risk patients, 31.0% in the prayer group vs 33.3% in the control group (OR, 0.90 [95% CI, 0.60-1.34]; P=.60) experienced a primary end point. Among low-risk patients, a primary end point occurred in 17.0% in the prayer group vs 24.1% in the control group (OR, 0.65 [95% CI, 0.20-1.36]; P=.12).

Conclusions: As delivered in this study, intercessory prayer had no significant effect on medical outcomes after hospitalization in a coronary care unit.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / classification
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronary Care Units
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Revascularization
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Spiritual Therapies / methods
  • Spiritual Therapies / psychology
  • Spiritual Therapies / standards*
  • Treatment Outcome*