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August 1959

Armchair Treatment of Myocardial Infarction

Author Affiliations

Charlottesville, Va.

From the Cardiovascular Division of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine. Instructor in Medicine (Dr. Atuk); Associate Professor of Internal Medicine (Dr. Beckwith), and Professor of Internal Medicine (Dr. Wood).

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;104(2):249-252. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270080075009

Recently there has been considerable interest in the armchair treatment of myocardial infarction. Clinical observations of Levine1 indicated that patients generally did better when they were allowed to sit up in a chair at intervals during the day than they did at complete bed rest. Improvement was striking in some of the patients who were desperately ill with congestive heart failure. It was stressed that this regimen improved the psychological state of the patient and facilitated the rehabilitation process.2 They could find no evidence that the armchair treatment produced any deleterious long-range effect.3

Clinical observations were made by Beckwith et al.4 in a series of 80 patients with acute myocardial infarction, one-half of whom were kept at complete bed rest and the other half allowed to sit up in a chair at intervals during the day. The mortality rate was no higher among the latter half than among the former.