Effects of yoga in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation - a randomized controlled study

Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2017 Jan;16(1):57-63. doi: 10.1177/1474515116637734. Epub 2016 Jul 7.


Background: Patients with atrial fibrillation often have an impaired quality of life (QoL). Practising yoga may decrease stress and have positive effects on mental and physical health. The aim of this study was to investigate whether yoga can improve QoL and decrease blood pressure and heart rate in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF).

Methods: In this pilot study, 80 patients diagnosed with PAF were randomized to standard treatment (control group, n=40) or standard treatment in combination with yoga (yoga group, n=40) during a 12-week period. QoL, blood pressure and heart rate were evaluated at baseline and at the end of the study (12 (+2) weeks). EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and the two dimensions in Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) were used to evaluate QoL.

Results: At baseline there was a significant difference in QoL between the groups in EQ-5D VAS- scale ( p=0.02) and SF-36 mental health score ( p<0.001) in which the control group had higher scores. At the end of the study, the yoga group averaged higher SF-36 mental health scores. There was a significant difference between the two groups ( p=0.016), but no differences in EQ-5D VAS- scale and physiological health score was seen between the two groups. At the end of the study, the yoga group had significantly lower heart rate ( p=0.024) and systolic ( p=0.033) and diastolic blood pressure ( p<0.001) compared to the control group.

Conclusions: Yoga with light movements and deep breathing may lead to improved QoL, lower blood pressure and lower heart rate in patients with PAF compared to a control group. Yoga could be a complementary treatment method to standard therapy.

Keywords: Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation; blood pressure; heart rate; quality of life; yoga.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / psychology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Yoga*