Tai chi enhances the effects of endurance training in the rehabilitation of elderly patients with chronic heart failure

Rehabil Res Pract. 2011;2011:761958. doi: 10.1155/2011/761958. Epub 2010 Sep 13.


Purpose. To assess if Tai Chi added to endurance training (ET) is more effective than ET alone in improving exercise tolerance and quality of life (QOL) of elderly patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Design. Sixty CHF patients, age 73.8 ± 6 years, M/F 51/9, were enlisted. Thirty pts were randomized to combined training (CT) performing Tai Chi +ET and 30 patients to ET (ET only). Methods. At baseline and after 12 weeks all patients underwent 6-minute walking test (6MWT), assessment of amino terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-pro BNP), quadriceps maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and peak torque (PT), QOL questionnaire (MacNewQLMI), blood pressure (BP), and heart rate (HR). All patients performed 4 sessions of exercise/week. Results. Distance at 6mwt improved in both groups with significant between-groups differences (P = .031). Systolic BP and NT-proBNP decreased significant in the CT group compared to ET (P = .025) and P = .015), resp.). CT group had a greater significant improvement in physical perception (P = .026) and a significant increase of PT compared to ET group. Conclusions. The association of Tai Chi and ET improves exercise tolerance and QOL of patients with CHF more efficiently than ET.