Abstract 10868: Repeated Low-Temperature Sauna Therapy Improves Cardiac and Exercise Capacity as well as Immune Competence in Patients with Heart Failure
Backgrounds: Immune dysfunction has been postulated to play a role in the pathophysiology of chronic heart failure (CHF). The decreased number of lymphocytes correlates with an adverse prognosis and natural killer (NK) cell function is impaired in CHF patients. Repeated sauna therapy, namely Waon therapy (WT), improves cardiac and endothelial function in CHF patients. We investigated whether WT could improve the immune competence and mental quality of life (QOL) in CHF patients, in addition to improving cardiac and exercise capacity.
Methods: Sixty CHF patients (68±15yo) were treated with 60°C far infrared-ray dry sauna bath for 15 minutes and then kept in a bed covered with blankets for 30 minutes once a day for 3 weeks. At baseline and 3 weeks after WT, cardiac function, 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), flow mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery, the number of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPC), physical and mental QOL scores assessed by SF36, NK cell activity, and the number of lymphocytes of peripheral blood were determined.
Results: All indices of LVEF (35±14 to 38±15%, p<0.01), BNP (487±466 to 375±384pg/ml, p<0.01), 6MWD (319±124 to 368±130m, p<0.01) and FMD (4.0±2.9 to 5.2±2.7%, p<0.01) were improved by WT, whereas EPC tended to increase (1.08±0.95 to 1.25±1.23/μ l, p=0.10). WT significantly improved both physical QOL scores of SF-36 and its mental scores such as general health, vitality, and mental health. NK cell activity increased (21.2±12.5 to 24.1±17.7%, p<0.05), and the number of lymphocytes tended to increase after WT (1689±596 to 1776±770/μ l, p=0.10). In non-ischemic CHF patients (n=33), however, WT significantly increased the number of lymphocytes (1673±576 to 1849±870/μ l, p<0.05), in association with greater improvement of SF36 scores and LVEF, compared to CHF patients with ischemic heart disease.
Conclusion: WT might ameliorate mental QOL and immune competence, in addition to improving cardiac and exercise capacity in patients with CHF, especially in non-ischemic CHF patients.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.