ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to assess evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of Chinese qigong exercise in rehabilitative programs among cardiac patients. Thirteen databases were searched through to November 2010, and all controlled clinical trials on Chinese qigong exercise among patients with chronic heart diseases were included. For each included study, data was extracted and validity was assessed. Study quality was evaluated and summarized using both the Jadad Scale and the criteria for levels of evidence. Seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and one non-randomized controlled clinical trial (CCT) published between 1988 and 2007 met the inclusion criteria. In total, these studies covered 540 patients with various chronic heart diseases including atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarct, valve replacement, and ischemic heart disease. Outcome measures emerged in these studies included subjective outcomes such as symptoms and quality of life; and objective outcomes such as blood pressure, ECG findings, and exercise capacity, physical activity, balance, co-ordination, heart rate, and oxygen uptake. Overall, these studies suggest that Chinese qigong exercise seems to be an optimal option for patients with chronic heart diseases who were unable to engage in other forms of physical activity; however, its efficacy and effectiveness in cardiac rehabilitation programs should be further tested.
The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 01/2012; 40(2):255-67. · 1.98 Impact Factor