Background: Lung functions are found to be impaired in coronary artery disease (CAD), congestive heart failure, left ventricular dysfunction, and after cardiac surgery. Diffusion capacity progressively worsens as the severity of CAD increases due to reduction in lung tissue participating in gas exchange.
Aims and objectives: Pranayama breathing exercises and yogic postures may play an impressive role in improving cardio-respiratory efficiency and facilitating gas diffusion at the alveolo-capillary membrane. This study was done to see the effect of yoga regimen on lung functions particularly diffusion capacity in CAD patients.
Materials and methods: A total of 80 stable CAD patients below 65 years of age of both sexes were selected and randomized into two groups of 40 each. Group I CAD patients were given yoga regimen for 3 months which consisted of yogic postures, pranayama breathing exercises, dietary modification, and holistic teaching along with their conventional medicine while Group II CAD patients were put only on conventional medicine. Lung functions including diffusion capacity were recorded thrice in both the groups: 0 day as baseline, 22(nd) day and on 90(th) day by using computerized MS medisoft Cardio-respiratory Instrument, HYP'AIR Compact model of cardio-respiratory testing machine was manufactured by P K Morgan, India. The recorded parameters were statistically analyzed by repeated measures ANOVA followed by Tukey's test in both the groups. Cardiovascular parameters were also compared before and after intervention in both the groups.
Results: Statistically significant improvements were seen in slow vital capacity, forced vital capacity, peak expiratory flow rate, maximum voluntary ventilation, and diffusion factor/ transfer factor of lung for carbon monoxide after 3 months of yoga regimen in Group I. Forced expiratory volume in 1(st) sec (FEV1), and FEV1 % also showed a trend toward improvement although not statistically significant. HR, SBP and DBP also showed significant improvement in Group-I patients who followed yoga regimen.
Conclusions: Yoga regimen was found to improve lung functions and diffusion capacity in CAD patients besides improving cardiovascular functions. Thus, it can be used as a complimentary or adjunct therapy along with the conventional medicine for their treatment and rehabilitation.
Keywords: Coronary artery disease; pranayama; pulmonary function tests; yoga regimen.