Background: Negative affective states such as anxiety, depression and stress are significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease, particularly in cardiac and post-cardiac rehabilitation populations.Yoga is a balanced practice of physical exercise, breathing control and meditation that can reduce psychosocial symptoms as well as improve cardiovascular and cognitive function. It has the potential to positively affect multiple disease pathways and may prove to be a practical adjunct to cardiac rehabilitation in further reducing cardiac risk factors as well as improving self-efficacy and post-cardiac rehabilitation adherence to healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Method and design: This is a parallel arm, multi-centre, randomised controlled trial that will assess the outcomes of post- phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation patients assigned to a yoga intervention in comparison to a no-treatment wait-list control group. Participants randomised to the yoga group will engage in a 12 week yoga program comprising of two group based sessions and one self-administered home session each week. Group based sessions will be led by an experienced yoga instructor. This will involve teaching beginner students a hatha yoga sequence that incorporates asana (poses and postures), pranayama (breathing control) and meditation. The primary outcomes of this study are negative affective states of anxiety, depression and stress assessed using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale. Secondary outcomes include measures of quality of life, and cardiovascular and cognitive function. The cardiovascular outcomes will include blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, pulse wave velocity, carotid intima media thickness measurements, lipid/glucose profiles and C-reactive protein assays. Assessments will be conducted prior to (week 0), mid-way through (week 6) and following the intervention period (week 12) as well as at a four week follow-up (week 16).
Discussion: This study will determine the effect of yoga practice on negative affective states, cardiovascular and cognitive function in post-phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation patients. The findings may provide evidence to incorporate yoga into standardised cardiac rehabilitation programs as a practical adjunct to improve the management of psychosocial symptoms associated with cardiovascular events in addition to improving patients' cognitive and cardiovascular functions.
Trial registration: ACTRN12612000358842.
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- cardiac rehabilitation