Tai Chi Chuan improves functional capacity after myocardial infarction: A randomized clinical trial

Am Heart J. 2015 Jun;169(6):854-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2015.01.017. Epub 2015 Mar 13.


Background: Patients with a recent myocardial infarction (MI) present a reduction in functional capacity expressed as a decrease in peak oxygen consumption (Vo2 peak). The impact of a Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) cardiac rehabilitation program for patients recovering from recent MI has yet to be assessed. Our goal is to evaluate functional capacity after a TCC-based cardiac rehabilitation program in patients with recent MI.

Methods: A single-blind randomized clinical trial was conducted. The researchers who performed the tests were blinded to group allocation. Between the 14th and 21st days after hospital discharge, all patients performed a cardiopulmonary exercise testing and a laboratory blood workup. Mean age was similar (56±9 years in the TCC group and 60±9 years in the control group). Patients allocated to the intervention group performed 3 weekly sessions of TCC Beijin style for 12 weeks (n=31). The control group participated in 3 weekly sessions of full-body stretching exercises (n=30).

Results: After the 12-week study period, participants in the TCC group experienced a significant 14% increase in Vo2 peak from baseline (21.6 ± 5.2 to 24.6 ± 5.2 mL/kg per minute), whereas control participants had a nonsignificant 5% decline in Vo2 peak (20.4 ± 5.1 to 19.4 ± 4.4 mL/kg per minute). There was a significant difference between the 2 groups (P<.0001).

Conclusions: Tai Chi Chuan practice was associated with an increase in Vo2 peak in patients with a recent MI and may constitute an effective form of cardiac rehabilitation in this patient population.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01340716.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Myocardial Infarction / rehabilitation*
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tai Ji*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01340716