Thirty-one “post-coronary” patients have been treated with progressive exercise, and a second series of 14 patients have received hypnotherapy to develop confidence and relaxation.
Over the course of a two year program, fourteen of the exercisers have achieved a high level of physical activity. This group shows objective signs of increased cardiorespiratory fitness (a reduction of excess weight and skinfold thickness, an increase of muscular strength, and an increase of predicted aerobic power); an improved relative oxygen supply to the myocardium is also suggested by the lessening of ST segmental depression at a specified exercise heart rate.
The remainder of the exercisers failed to share in these benefits. They were older, often had angina or diastolic hypertension, and seemed physiologically unable to attain the necessary intensity of training. These individuals fared no better than those receiving regular hypnotherapy. The latter modality may provide a useful alternative treatment for patients who cannot or will not undertake a vigorous exercise program following myocardial infarction.