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January 7, 1983

Effects of Stress Management Training and Dietary Changes in Treating Ischemic Heart Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Ornish, Hall, and Gotto), Community Medicine (Drs Scherwitz and Brown), Radiology (Drs Sonnemaker, Burdine, and DePuey), and Psychiatry (Dr Lester), and the Office of Student Affairs (Ms Doody), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; The Methodist Hospital, Houston (Dr Gotto); St Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston (Drs Hall, Burdine, Sonnemaker, and DePuey); The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston (Ms Kesten); Department of Family Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington (Dr McLanahan); Arizona College of Nursing, Tucson (Ms Haynes); and Southwest Monitoring, Inc, Houston (Ms McAllister). Dr Ornish is now with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. Dr Brown is now with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

JAMA. 1983;249(1):54-59. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330250034024

To evaluate the short-term effects of an intervention that consists of stress management training and dietary changes in patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD), we compared the cardiovascular status of 23 patients who received this intervention with a randomized control group of 23 patients who did not. After 24 days, patients in the experimental group demonstrated a 44% mean increase in duration of exercise, a 55% mean increase in total work performed, somewhat improved left ventricular regional wall motion during peak exercise, and a net change in the left ventricular ejection fraction from rest to maximum exercise of +6.4%. Also, we measured a 20.5% mean decrease in plasma cholesterol levels and a 91.0% mean reduction in frequency of anginal episodes. In this selected sample, short-term improvements in cardiovascular status seem to result from these adjuncts to conventional treatments of IHD.

(JAMA 1983;249:54-59)