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Tai Chi and Qigong for Depressive Symptoms in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure

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August 28, 2021 - Depression is a debilitating comorbidity of heart failure that needs assessment and management. Along with mind-body exercise to deal with heart failure with depression, the use of Tai Chi and/or Qigong practices (TQPs) has increased. Therefore, this systematic review assesses the effects of TQPs on depression among patients with heart failure.

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effect of TQPs on depression in patients with heart failure were searched by five databases (PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), EMBASE, CINAHL, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI)). With standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), random-effects meta-analyses of the effect of TQPs on depressive symptoms were performed.

Of eight included RCTs, seven (481 patients) provided data for the meta-analysis. The pooling revealed that TQPs contribute to depression remission in heart failure. Its anti-depressive effect was not influenced by intervention duration or exercise setting, but rather by ejection fraction subtype, depressive severity, and depression instruments. The beneficial effects were preserved when the study with the largest effect was removed.

This study, reported by the journal Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, suggests that TQPs might be a good strategy for alleviating depressive symptoms in patients with heart failure. And rigorous-design RCTs, which focus on the identified research gaps, are needed to further establish the therapeutic effects of TQPs for depression in heart failure.




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