Mind-Body Interventions for Individuals With Heart Failure: A Systematic Review of Randomized Trials

J Card Fail. 2018 Mar;24(3):186-201. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2017.09.008. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


Background: The effects of mind-body interventions (MBIs) (eg, Tai Chi, yoga, meditation) for individuals with heart failure (HF) have not been systematically evaluated.

Methods and results: We performed a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the effects of MBIs in HF. We extracted participant characteristics, MBI procedure, outcomes assessed, and main results of English-language RCTs before October 2016. We identified 24 RCTs (n = 1314 participants) of 9 MBI types: Tai Chi (n = 7), yoga (n = 4), relaxation (n = 4), meditation (n = 2), acupuncture (n = 2), biofeedback (n = 2), stress management (n = 1), Pilates (n = 1), and reflexology (n = 1). Most (n = 22, 95.8%) reported small-to-moderate improvements in quality of life (14/14 studies), exercise capacity (8/9 studies), depression (5/5 studies), anxiety and fatigue (4/4 studies), blood pressure (3/5 studies), heart rate (5/6 studies), heart rate variability (7/9 studies), and B-type natriuretic peptide (3/4 studies). Studies ranged from 4 minutes to 26 weeks and group sizes ranged from 8 to 65 patients per study arm.

Conclusions: Although wide variability exists in the types and delivery, RCTs of MBIs have demonstrated small-to-moderate positive effects on HF patients' objective and subjective outcomes. Future research should examine the mechanisms by which different MBIs exert their effects.

Keywords: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); heart failure; mind-body interventions; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Heart Failure / psychology
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mind-Body Therapies / methods*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*