Effect of pranayama on anxiety and pain among patients undergoing cardiac surgery: A non-randomized controlled trial

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Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health


Background: Major cardiac surgery could be physically and mentally stressful. Anxiety and pain are commonly experienced by patients while undergoing cardiac surgery. Yoga is recognized as the most beneficial complementary and alternative therapy. Objective: To assess the effect of alternate nostril breathing exercises (pranayama) on anxiety and pain among patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Methods: A non-randomized controlled trial was adopted as study design and involved 48 patients undergoing cardiac surgery. The experimental group (n = 24) received pranayama study intervention while the control group (n = 24) received routine care of the hospital. Outcomes were state anxiety and pain, measured with the state anxiety inventory and a visual analogue scale respectively. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 20.0. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to test the effect of the intervention. Results: Study results showed that patients in the experimental group experienced a significant decrease in anxiety (p < 0.05) than the control group. There was a decrease in pain scores but was not statistically significant across different time point measurements at p < 0.05 between the groups. Conclusion: These findings support the use of pranayama for decreasing anxiety among patients undergoing cardiac surgery. However, there is a need for randomized controlled trials with higher sample size to confirm this results. Future trials also should focus on the estimation of relevant biomarkers such as endorphins to understand the scientific rationale.

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