Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population

Author: Byrd RC
Cardiology Division, San Francisco General Medical Center, Univ. California, San Francisco
Conference/Journal: Southern Medical J
Date published: 1988
Other: Volume ID: 81 , Issue ID: 7 , Pages: 826-829 , Word Count: 188

The therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (IP) to the Judeo-Christian God, one of the oldest forms of therapy, has had little attention in the medical literature. To evaluate the effects of IP in a coronary care unit (CCU) population, a prospective randomized double-blind protocol was followed. Over ten months, 393 patients admitted to the CCU were randomized, after signing informed consent, to an intercessory prayer group (192 patients) or to a control group (201 patients). While hospitalized, the first group received IP by participating Christians praying outside the hospital; the control group did not. At entry, chi-square and stepwise logistic analysis revealed no statistical difference between the groups. After entry, all patients had follow-up for the remainder of the admission. The IP group subsequently had a significantly lower severity score based on the hospital course after entry (P<0.01). Multivariant analysis separated the groups on the basis of the outcome variables (P<0.0001). The control patients required ventilatory assistance, antibiotics, and diuretics more frequently than patients in the IP group These data suggest that intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU.