Decreased Premature Ventricular Contractions Through Use of the Relaxation Response in Patients with Stable Ischemic Heart-Disease

Authors
Herbert Benson, Sidney Alexander, Charles L. Feldman
Publication
The Lancet
306(7931), p. 380-382
Abstract

To determine whether decreased sympathetic-nervous-system activity achieved by the relaxation response could decrease premature ventricular contractions (P.V.C.S), eleven ambulatory patients with proven, stable ischæmic heart-disease and P.V.C.s were investigated. The patients, who were taking no medication for the P.V.C.S, were trained to elicit regularly the relaxation response through a non-cultic psychological technique. The frequency of the P.V.C.s was measured by computer analysis of Holter monitor tapes for 2 complete days before learning the technique, which was learned in approximately 5 minutes after the second day. Patients were instructed to evoke the response for 20 minutes twice daily thereafter. After 4 weeks, a reduced frequency of P.V.C.s was documented in eight of the eleven patients. This effect was especially striking during the sleeping hours and less so during the entire monitoring session. The relaxation response is a simple, no cost, non-pharmacological mechanism without side-effects which seemed to decrease the frequency of P.V.C.s in most patients with ischæmic heart-disease.

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