(HealthDay News) – Yoga significantly reduces clinical symptoms and improves quality-of-life measures in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study published online Jan. 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, MD, from the University of Kansas Hospital & Medical Center in Kansas City, and colleagues conducted a pre-post study in which patients with symptomatic paroxysmal AF were assigned to an initial three-month non-interventional observation period followed by twice-weekly 60-minute yoga training sessions for the following three months. Episodes of AF during the control and study periods were reported. Short Form-36 (SF-36), Zung self-rated anxiety, and Zung self-rated depression scores were measured at baseline and before and after the study phase.

The researchers found that yoga training significantly reduced symptomatic AF episodes (3.8 ± 3 vs. 2.1 ± 2.6), symptomatic non-AF episodes (2.9 ± 3.4 vs. 1.4 ± 2), and asymptomatic AF episodes (0.12 ± 0.44 vs. 0.04 ± 0.2). Yoga also reduced depression and anxiety and significantly improved several quality-of-life parameters on SF-36 (physical functioning, general health, vitality, social functioning, and mental health domains). Heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased before and after yoga.

“In patients with paroxysmal AF, yoga improves symptoms, arrhythmia burden, heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and depression scores, and several domains of quality of life,” the authors write.

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