COPD: yoga boosts exercise capacity, lung function in meta-analysis

  • Cramer H & al.
  • Clin Rehabil
  • 29.07.2019

  • von Miriam Davis, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Yoga has robust effects on exercise capacity and pulmonary function, according to 11 randomized controlled trials.
  • Safety results were poorly reported.

Why this matters

  • Yoga appears to be an effective adjunct intervention for COPD, but safety data are lacking.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis of 11 randomized trials (n=586) identified from Medline/PubMed, Scopus, and the Cochrane central registry.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Yoga (vs no treatment) is associated with:
    • Improved QoL on the COPD Assessment Test (mean difference [MD], 3.81; P=.009; I2=70%).
    • Improved exercise capacity on the 6-minute walk test (MD, 23.53 m; P<.001 i>2=0%).
    • Improved pulmonary function via predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) based on height, weight, and race (MD, 3.95%; P<.001 i>2=0%).
    • No change in absolute FEV1 (MD, −0.16 L; P=.60; I2=92%).
  • Benefits were observed with breathing-focused yoga (vs no treatment), but not with yoga postures. Breathing-based yoga was associated with:
    • improved dyspnea (standardized MD, −0.43; P=.03; I2=0%),
    • improved exercise capacity on the 6-minute walk test (MD, 22.74 m; P=.003; I2=0%), and
    • FEV1 (MD, 3.97%; P<.001 i>2=0%).

Limitations

  • Safety was inconclusive because of inadequate reporting.
  • Small number of patients.
  • High heterogeneity in 2 of 4 outcomes.