Although exercise is an important component of heart failure management, optimal regimens, particularly in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF), are uncertain. Tai chi (TC) is a mind-body exercise that may have potential benefits but has not been studied in this population. The authors randomized 16 patients with HFPEF to either 12 weeks TC or aerobic exercise. Assessments included peak oxygen uptake, 6-minute walk, quality of life, echocardiography, mood, and self-efficacy at baseline and at 12 weeks. Cardiorespiratory measures during exercise were obtained to characterize training intensities. Baseline characteristics were as follows: age 66±12 years, E/A ratio 1.3±0.7, and E/e' ratio 15.9±4.8. Overall, adherence was excellent (89% attendance). Change in peak oxygen uptake was similar between groups after 12 weeks, but 6-minute walk distance increased more after TC (69±46 m vs 10±31 m, P=.02). While both groups had improved Minnesota Living With Heart Failure scores and self-efficacy, Profile of Mood States (POMS)-Depression scores improved more with TC (-1.7±2.8 vs 1.6±3, P=.05). Cardiorespiratory assessment during TC showed lower oxygen uptake (4.3 mL/kg/min vs 9.4 mL/kg/min, P<.01), respiratory rate, and heart rate. TC is feasible and safe in HFPEF. Therepeutic endpoints appear similar with TC relative to aerobic exercise despite a lower aerobic training workload.
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.