Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) as an adjunctive treatment for patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and heart failure.
Design: Studies on biomedical treatment plus CHM versus biomedical treatment alone in treating patients with DCM and heart failure were retrieved from PubMed and other major databases (1980–2011). Meta-analysis was performed on the overall effects on effective rate, left ventricular ejection fraction, left ventricular diastolic end diameter, and other outcome measures.
Results: Twenty-seven studies with 1887 patients were included. Compared with biomedical treatment alone, biomedical treatment plus CHM showed significant improvement in effective rate (relative risk, 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.19–1.34), left ventricular ejection fraction (%) (mean difference, 5.88; 95% CI, 3.92–7.85), left ventricular diastolic end diameter (mm) (mean difference, −2.78; 95% CI, −5.15 to −0.42), and other outcome measures. Most adverse events observed in the studies were not severe and resolved without special treatment.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis indicated that biomedical treatment plus CHM is more effective than biomedical treatment alone in treating patients with DCM and heart failure. However, further studies with long-term follow-up, systemic adverse events evaluation, and other ethnic groups are still required to verify the efficacy and safety of CHM as an adjunctive treatment in all patients with DCM and heart failure.
Cardiomyopathy describes diseases of the heart muscle in which the heart muscle fibres themselves become enlarged, thickened or rigid. These changes affect the function of the heart and its efficiency of pumping blood around the body. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common cause of heart failure in men and as you might guess it means enlarged heart muscles. Enlarged muscle fibres results in thinner structures that weakly and insufficiently contract to move the blood from one chamber in the heart to the next and through the arteries.
In TCM there are many herbs compounds that have been identified as being effective in treating heart failure. “True Warrior Decoction” Zhen Whu Tang ” can decrease resistance of blood flow and reduced blood viscosity, and decreased workload on the heart. Some of the herbs in this formula disperse fluid by promoting urination. The clearance of fluid means less work for the heart. This action is the same as diuretics which are often described to patients suffering from cardiomyopathy.
Effectiveness of Chinese Herbal Medicine as an Adjunctive Treatment for Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Patients with Heart Failure
Hongyuan Bai, MD,1 Yafeng Li, MD,2 Ke Han, MD,1 Min Gong, MD,3 and Aiqun Ma, MD, PhD1
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine