ICMR, PHFI trial shows Yoga works in cardiac rehabilitation

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After the largest multi-centre randomised trial; researchers hope Yoga will be used more in low and middle income countries

The largest ever multi-centre randomised trial on cardiac rehabilitation and on health benefits of Yoga shows that Yoga works.

The results of YogaCaRe were presented in the American Heart Association Scientific Session in Chicago on Nov 10, 2018. The five year study ended in September 2018.  The programme was funded by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and Medical Research Council (UK).

Professor Prabhakaran, Vice President, PHFI and Executive Director, CCDC and Principal Investigator of the study said, “The prevalence of ischemic heart disease in India has increased over by 50% and in terms of absolute numbers, has increased from 10 million in 1990 to 24 million in 2016.  The Yoga-CaRe Trial the largest trial on Yoga as well as cardiac rehabilitation, has shown the potential of Yoga to be an alternative to the conventional CR programs and address the unmet needs of cardiac rehabilitation for patients in low- and middle-income countries. It is safe, relatively inexpensive, does not need an elaborate infrastructure, culturally acceptable and improves quality of life.”

Major findings of the trial
Findings of YogaCaRe trial

Professor Sanjay Kinra, Head, Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Co-Principal Investigator of the study said, “Improvements in cardiac care mean that most people nowadays survive a heart attack. The focus has therefore shifted to improving quality of life of survivors of heart attacks so that they can readjust better after such a catastrophic event and contribute maximally to their families and society. This is particularly true in India where heart attacks tend to occur at very young ages.”

“This is a landmark study shows that use of Yoga as a CR tool is efficacious in improving quality of life and reducing cardiovascular events among those who completed at least 75% of the sessions.”

The study awaits formal peer review, but the preliminary results of thr trial suggest that a yoga-based cardiac rehabilitation programme could improve quality of life and promote earlier return to usual activities. This offers a low-cost and culturally-acceptable effective alternative to standard cardiac rehabilitation programmes that are usually complex and expensive, thereby improving lives of millions of disadvantage people worldwide who are in most need of such care.

Traditional cultural practices are often viewed with suspicion by the mainstream medical community. This major trial of yoga carried out with the highest scientific standards highlights the potential of traditional practices to play a complementary role in provision of medical care, particularly given the high costs of managing chronic conditions.

Professor Ambuj Roy, Professor of Cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), “This is a landmark study shows that use of Yoga as a CR tool is efficacious in improving quality of life and reducing cardiovascular events among those who completed at least 75% of the sessions. Yoga has gained immense popularity nationally and internationally as a tool for health promotion, especially after the UN declared 21st June as international Yoga Day.”

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