Device-Guided Breathing to Lower Blood Pressure: Case Report and Clinical Overview

William J. Elliott, MD, PhD; Joseph L. Izzo, Jr, MD

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Abstract

The belief that breathing exercises may provide health benefits has been shared by many cultures for centuries. A case study illustrates one such FDA-approved intervention, its performance over time, and the day-to-day home blood pressure (BP) variation in response to treatment. The device used by this patient (which interactively entrains slowed and deep breathing) has been studied in 7 clinical trials. Routine use of the device (RESPeRATE, InterCure Inc., Fort Lee, New Jersey; www.resperate.com/MD) significantly lowered home and office BPs without adverse effects, when used alone, with lifestyle modifications, or adjunctively to antihypertensive drugs. The proposed physiological mechanism(s), the technology that guides slowed breathing, pooled clinical research outcomes, and recommendations regarding this modality in clinical practice are also reviewed. Device-guided paced breathing may offer an effective, simple, and new nonpharmacologic option for treating high BP without additional side effects, but like all lifestyle modifications, must be practiced consistently to provide benefits.

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