Int J Cardiol. 2012 Jan 12. [Epub ahead of print]
Sobajima M, Nozawa T, Ihori H, Shida T, Ohori T, Suzuki T, Matsuki A, Yasumura S, Inoue H.
The Second Department of Internal Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Toyama, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.
BACKGROUND: Repeated low-temperature sauna (Waon/Far Infrared) therapy relieves ischemic symptoms in patients with peripheral arterial disease. We investigated whether Waon (Far Infrared) therapy could improve myocardial perfusion in patients with ischemia related to chronic total occlusion (CTO) of coronary arteries.
METHODS: Twenty-four patients who had ischemia in the chronic total occlusion (CTO)-related area were examined. The severity of ischemia was quantified by thallium-201 myocardial perfusion scintigraphy with adenosine. The Waon (Far Infrared) group (n=16) was treated daily for three weeks with a 60°C far infrared-ray dry sauna bath for 15min and then kept in a bed covered with blankets for 30min. The control group (n=8) underwent myocardial perfusion scintigraphy twice with a three-week interval.
RESULTS: In the control group, neither summed stress score (SSS) nor summed difference score (SDS) of myocardial scintigraphy changed. However, Waon (Far Infrared) therapy improved both SSS (16±7 to 9±6, p<0.01) and SDS (7±4 to 3±2, p<0.01), and the improvement was greater in patients with higher SSS and SDS scores at the baseline. Waon (Far Infrared) therapy extended treadmill exercise time (430±185 to 511±192s, p<0.01) and improved flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery (4.1±1.3 to 5.9±1.8%, p<0.05), but tended to decrease the number of circulating CD34-positive bone marrow-derived cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Waon (Far Infrared) therapy improves chronic total occlusion (CTO) related myocardial ischemia in association with improvement of vascular endothelial function. This therapy could be a complementary and alternative tool in patients with severe coronary lesions not suitable for coronary intervention.