Shower versus sink bath: evaluation of heart rate, blood pressure, and subjective response of the patient with myocardial infarction

Heart Lung. 1991 Jul;20(4):375-82.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a sitting shower versus a sitting sink bath in low-risk patients with myocardial infarction (MI). Heart rate, blood pressure (mean blood pressure and rate-pressure-product), ratings of perceived exertion, and occurrence of symptoms during the baths and between resting, bathing, and recovery periods were evaluated. Thirty patients with MI were tested during their first and second self-bath on 2 consecutive days between 2 and 9 days after MI. The bathing methods produced significant increases from the resting values in all the variables (p less than or equal to 0.05). No significant differences between the resting and recovery values existed (p greater than 0.05). Ten subjects experienced atypical responses to bathing as indicated by heart rate and blood pressures. Fatigue was the most frequently encountered symptom at rest and during the bathing activities. The findings suggest that low-risk patients with MI can choose between a sitting sink bath or a sitting shower as their first self-bath after MI, based on preferences. However, because the bathing activity (and not the bathing method) did produce some atypical responses in one third of the subjects, readiness to engage in bathing activities should be individually assessed by objective and subjective criteria.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Baths / methods*
  • Baths / psychology
  • Baths / standards
  • Blood Pressure
  • Clinical Protocols / standards
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / nursing*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Physical Exertion
  • Posture