Background & objective: Evidences suggest that relaxation therapy may improve psychological outcomes in heart patients. We evaluated the effect of progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) training in decreasing anxiety and improving quality of life among anxious patients after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG).
Methods: This study was an open uncontrolled trial. The sample included 110 anxious patients referred to the cardiac rehabilitation clinic of Tehran Heart Center, Tehran, Iran, during six weeks after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). Patients were allocated to receive both exercise training and lifestyle education plus relaxation therapy (relaxation group; n=55) or only exercise training beside lifestyle education (control group or the recipient of usual care group; n=55). Duration of the relaxation therapy was 6 wk and in the case of usual care was 8 wk. Both the groups were followed up one month after completion of intervention. Anxiety and quality of life in the two treatment groups were compared.
Results: There were no significant differences in overall QOL, state anxiety and trait anxiety scores between the two groups before intervention. Significant reductions in state anxiety (P<0.01) and trait anxiety (P<0.01) levels were observed in relaxation group after intervention compared to control group. Women had high state anxiety and a low quality of life than men in the two groups before intervention. After intervention, there was no difference between men and women in the relaxation group.
Interpretation & conclusion: Our findings show that progressive muscular relaxation training may be an effective therapy for improving psychological health and quality of life in anxious heart patients.