To compare 2 mild-to-moderate group exercises and treatment as usual (TAU) for improvements in physical function and depressive symptoms.
Patients with heart failure (n = 70, mean age = 66 yr, range = 45-89 yr) were randomized to 16 wk of tai chi (TC), resistance band (RB) exercise, or TAU.
Physical function differed by group from baseline to follow-up, measured by distance walked in the 6-min walk test (F = 3.19, P = .03). Tai chi participants demonstrated a nonsignificant decrease of 162 ft (95% confidence interval [CI], 21 to −345, P = .08) while distance walked by RB participants remained stable with a nonsignificant increase of 70 ft (95% CI, 267 to −127, P = .48). Treatment as usual group significantly decreased by 205 ft (95% CI, −35 to −374, P = .02) and no group differences occurred over time in end-systolic volume (P = .43) and left ventricular function (LVEF) (P = .67). However, groups differed over time in the Beck Depression Inventory (F = 9.2, P < .01). Both TC and RB groups improved (decreased) by 3.5 points (95% CI, 2-5, P < .01). Treatment as usual group decreased insignificantly 1 point (95% CI, −1 to 3, P = .27).
Tai chi and RB participants avoided a decrease in physical function decrements as seen with TAU. No groups changed in cardiac function. Both TC and RB groups saw reduced depression symptoms compared with TAU. Thus, both TC and RB groups avoided a decrease in physical function and improved their psychological function when compared with TAU.