Author + information
- Received December 21, 2000
- Revision received November 28, 2001
- Accepted December 12, 2001
- Published online March 6, 2002.
- Takashi Kihara, MD*,
- Sadatoshi Biro, MD*,
- Masakazu Imamura, MD*,
- Shiro Yoshifuku, MD*,
- Kunitsugu Takasaki, MD*,
- Yoshiyuki Ikeda, MD*,
- Yutaka Otuji, MD*,
- Shinichi Minagoe, MD*,
- Yoshifumi Toyama, MD† and
- Chuwa Tei, MD, FACC*,* ()
- ↵*Reprint requests and correspondence:
Dr. Chuwa Tei, First Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kagoshima University, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima, 890-8520 Japan.
Objectives The purpose of this study was to determine the mechanism by which 60°C sauna treatment improves cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).
Background We have previously reported that repeated 60°C sauna treatment improves hemodynamic data and clinical symptoms in patients with CHF. We hypothesized that the sauna restores endothelial function and then improves cardiac function.
Methods Twenty patients (62 ± 15 years) in New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II or III CHF were treated in a dry sauna at 60°C for 15 min and then kept on bed rest with a blanket for 30 min, daily for two weeks. Ten patients with CHF, matched for age, gender and NYHA functional class, were placed on a bed in a temperature-controlled (24°C) room for 45 min as the nontreated group. Using high-resolution ultrasound, we measured the diameter of the brachial artery at rest and during reactive hyperemia (percent flow-mediated dilation, %FMD: endothelium-dependent dilation), as well as after sublingual administration of nitroglycerin (%NTG: endothelium-independent dilation). Cardiac function was evaluated by measuring the concentrations of plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP).
Results Clinical symptoms were improved in 17 of 20 patients after two weeks of sauna therapy. The %FMD after two-week sauna treatment significantly increased from the baseline value, whereas the %NTG-induced dilation did not. Concentrations of BNP after the two-week sauna treatment decreased significantly. In addition, there was a significant correlation between the change in %FMD and the percent improvement in BNP concentrations in the sauna-treated group. In contrast, none of the variables changed at the two-week interval in the nontreated group.
Conclusions Repeated sauna treatment improves vascular endothelial function, resulting in an improvement in cardiac function and clinical symptoms.
☆ This study was supported in part by the Scientific Research Grant from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Japan.
- Received December 21, 2000.
- Revision received November 28, 2001.
- Accepted December 12, 2001.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation