The effect of cardiac rehabilitation with relaxation therapy on psychological, hemodynamic, and hospital admission outcome variables

J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. Sep-Oct 2009;29(5):304-9. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0b013e3181b4ca27.


Purpose: To examine the effect of a cardiac rehabilitation program with relaxation therapy (CPRT) in comparison with cardiac rehabilitation alone on psychological stress, hemodynamic variables, cardiac risk factors, and cardiac-related hospital admissions in patients with coronary artery disease.

Methods: Patients (N = 81) were randomly assigned to either a 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program alone (CPA) or a CPRT. Perceived stress, blood pressure, heart rate, rate-pressure product value, total cholesterol level, body mass index, smoking status, and physical activity were recorded at baseline and following the 12-week intervention. Cardiac-related hospital admissions were analyzed in a 2-year follow-up.

Results: Perceived stress declined in both groups, although this improvement was significantly superior in the CPRT (31.5 +/- 4.9 vs 23.4 +/- 4.1; P <or= .0001). CPRT, but not CPA, had significantly lower heart rate, blood pressure, and rate-pressure product values after the program (P <or= .0001). Both groups improved smoking status, physical activity, body mass index, and total cholesterol level. During follow-up, the odds of being admitted to the hospital with cardiac-related problems, after adjusting for heart rate, blood pressure, smoking status, physical activity status, and total cholesterol (OR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.045-2.98), was not significantly different between groups.

Conclusions: Relaxation therapy was associated with a positive effect on psychological stress and hemodynamic variables beyond that promoted by cardiac rehabilitation alone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Coronary Artery Disease / etiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / trends*
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome