Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Patients with Cardiovascular Disease: A Focused Review for Practicing Clinicians

Author: Sharon Y Lee1,2, Emily C Gathright1,2, Wen-Chih Wu2,3, Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher4,5
1 Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, USA.
2 Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
3 Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute Wellness and Prevention Center, Providence, RI, USA.
4 Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. Elena_Salmoirago-Blotcher@brown.edu.
5 Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute, The Miriam Hospital, One Hoppin Street, Providence, RI, 02903, USA. Elena_Salmoirago-Blotcher@brown.edu.
Conference/Journal: Curr Cardiol Rep
Date published: 2023 Mar 2
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s11886-023-01846-1. , Word Count: 190

Purpose of review:
With growing scientific and public interest in the health benefits of mindfulness, clinicians increasingly face questions and solicitations for advice from patients about the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for cardiovascular disease (CVD). In this clinician-focused review, we aim to revisit empirical studies on MBIs for CVD with the purpose of informing clinicians' decisions on how to provide recommendations consistent with updated scientific findings to patients interested in MBIs.

Recent findings:
We start by defining MBIs and identifying the possible physiological, psychological, behavioral, and cognitive mechanisms underlying the potentially positive effects of MBIs for CVD. Potential mechanisms include the reduction of sympathetic nervous system activity, improved vagal control, and biological markers (physiological); psychological distress and cardiovascular health behaviors (psychological and behavioral); and executive function, memory, and attention (cognitive). Then, we summarize the extant evidence to identify gaps and limitations in MBI research for the purpose of informing future directions for cardiovascular and behavioral medicine researchers. We conclude with practical recommendations for clinicians communicating with patients with CVD who are interested in MBIs.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Cardiovascular prevention; Mindfulness training; Mindfulness-based interventions.

PMID: 36862351 DOI: 10.1007/s11886-023-01846-1