Background: Sympathetic activation is associated with congestive heart failure (CHF) and leads to adverse clinical events.We hypothesized that meditation by reducing emotional reactivity would have beneficial effect in reducing arrhythmias compared to control patients.
Methods: Patients known to have CHF and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) were randomized to Vipassana meditation or usual care control group. Meditation group underwent meditation classes three times during the first week, thereafter every once two weeks. They were encouraged to practice meditation at least once everyday. The ICD was followed by clinic/ remote visits. Atrial (AA) and ventricular arrhythmias (VA) as well cardiac events were assessed in follow up. Chi square test was used to compare nominal variables and t test for continuous variables.
Results: Patients (n=25, 65% male, mean LVEF 25%, HTN 38%, Diabetes 12%, coronary artery disease 38%, NYHA class 2.2) were followed for 79 + 36 months. Comparing meditation vs control, survival was higher (88%vs 67%); there was less cumulative sustained AF episodes (mean 0.9, IQR 0-1 vs 2.5, IQR 2-4, p=0.045), sustained VT occurred (25% vs 55%, amiodarone use (none vs 44%), and VT ablation in 6.6% vs 33% in the meditation group.
Conclusions: In this first pilot study of meditation in CHF patients with ICD, during long term follow up, there is a trend for improved survival and reduced arrhythmias in patients randomized to meditation.
Credits: Aditee Dash MD, Pankaj Malhotra MD, Neil Beri MD, Nayereh Pezeshkian MD, Dali Fan MD, Uma N Srivatsa MBBS, MAS