Device-Guided Breathing for Hypertension: a Summary Evidence Review

Abstract

Persistently raised blood pressure is one of the major risk factors for diseases such as myocardial infarction and stroke. Uncontrolled hypertension is also associated with high rates of mortality, particularly in middle and high-income countries. Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity and smoking are all thought to contribute to the development of hypertension. As a result, the management of hypertension should begin with modifying these lifestyle factors. Beyond this, drug interventions are used as the predominant form of management. However, adherence to medications can be highly variable, medication side effects are common, and may require regular monitoring or, in some individuals may be ineffective. Therefore, additional non-pharmacologic interventions that lower blood pressure may be advantageous when combined with lifestyle modifications. Such interventions may include relaxation therapies such as slow breathing exercises, which can be initiated by means of specific devices. The technique of device-guided breathing (DGB) has been considered by guideline developers in the management of hypertension. One specific device, the Resperate, has received US FDA and UK NHS approval over the last few years. In this review, we summarise the evidence base on efficacy and find that although some clinical trials exist that demonstrate a BP-lowering effect, others do not. There is currently insufficient evidence from pooled data to recommend the routine use of device-guided breathing in hypertensive patients.

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Correspondence to Kamal R. Mahtani.

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Drs. Mahtani, Beinortas, Bauza, and Nunan declare no conflicts of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Device-Based Approaches for Hypertension

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Mahtani, K.R., Beinortas, T., Bauza, K. et al. Device-Guided Breathing for Hypertension: a Summary Evidence Review. Curr Hypertens Rep 18, 33 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-016-0631-z

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Keywords

  • Blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Device-guided breathing