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Heart rate variability and pulse oximetry biofeedback for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

23 Sep

Researchers from The University of Washington find that heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback, plus walking with pulse oximetry feedback, improves functioning and quality of life for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Researchers from The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at The University of Washington, Seattle examined whether heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback and walking with pulse oximetry feedback could improve functioning and quality of life for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Twenty patients with COPD participated in 5 weekly sessions of HRV biofeedback and 4 weekly sessions of walking practice with oximetry feedback, with instructions for daily home practice.

Primary outcomes measures were the distance walked in 6 minutes (6MWD) and overall quality of life, as measured by the St. George''s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). Secondary outcomes included measures of self-efficacy, self-reported disability, anxiety, depression, dyspnea before and after the 6MWD, and HRV at the frequency of respiration during spontaneous and paced breathing.

After 10 weeks of training, participants showed statistically and clinically significant improvements in 6MWD and quality of life. Significant changes were also seen in self-efficacy, disability, dyspnea before and after the 6MWD, and HRV amplitude during spontaneous breathing. This study concludes that this intervention is feasible for patients with COPD and that further research using a randomized controlled design is warranted.

Citation: Giardino ND, Chan L, Borson S. Combined heart rate variability and pulse oximetry biofeedback for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: preliminary findings. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2004 Jun;29(2):121-33. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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