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Biofeedback treatment increases heart rate variability in patients with known coronary artery diseas

03 May

Biofeedback is shown to improve Heart Rate Variablity in patients with coronary artery disease a good thing, being as how diminished HRV is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in these patients.

In a randomized controlled trial at The California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Diego, researchers investigated whether biofeedback could improve heart rate variablity (HRV) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Diminished HRV is associated with increases in cardiac morbidity and mortality.

Sixty-three patients with CAD were randomly assigned to either conventional therapy or to six biofeedback sessions, consisting of abdominal breath training, heart and respiratory physiologic feedback, and daily breathing practice.

HRV was measured by the standard deviation of normal-to-normal QRS complexes (SDNN) at week 1 (pretreatment), week 6 (after treatment), and week 18 (follow-up). At baseline, characteristics were similar for the treatment and control groups. The SDNN for the biofeedback and control groups did not differ at baseline or at week 6, but at week 18, the biofeedback group showed a significant increase in SDNN from baseline to week 6 (P <.001) and to week 18 (P =.003). The control subjects had no change from baseline to week 6 (P =.214) and week 18 (P =.27).

The study concludes that biofeedback increases HRV in patients with CAD and therefore should be considered as an integral tool for improving cardiac morbidity and mortality rates. Citation: Del Pozo JM, Gevirtz RN, Scher B, Guarneri E.Biofeedback treatment increases heart rate variability in patients with known coronary artery disease. American Heart Journal. 2004 Mar; 147 (3): E11.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award