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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 927392, 9 pages
Review Article

Outcome Measures of Chinese Herbal Medicine for Coronary Heart Disease: An Overview of Systematic Reviews

Jing Luo1,2 and Hao Xu2

1Graduate School, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
2Cardiovascular Diseases Center, Xiyuan Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100091, China

Received 24 November 2011; Accepted 26 January 2012

Academic Editor: Keji Chen

Copyright © 2012 Jing Luo and Hao Xu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. The aim of this overview was to summarize the outcome measures of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) as the treatment of coronary heart disease (CHD) based on available systematic reviews (SRs), so as to display the current situation and evaluate the potential benefits and advantages of CHM on CHD. Methods. An extensive search included the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, MEDLINE, and 4 databases in Chinese. SRs of CHM for CHD were included. Besides evaluating and summarizing the outcome measures, we also estimated the quality of the included reviews by PRISMA (preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses). Data were extracted according to predefined inclusion criteria by two independent reviewers. Results. 46 articles were included. 20 kinds of CHM were reviewed. 7 SRs were concerned with myocardial infarction (MI), 38 SRs were related to angina pectoris. 11 SRs had primary endpoints, while others focused on secondary endpoints to evaluate CHM for CHD such as angina pectoris and electrocardiogram (ECG). One SR reported more adverse effects of CHM for CHD and of the SRs analyzed quality of life. Many CHM appeared to have significant effect on improving symptoms, ECG, biomarkers and so on. However, most SRs failed to make a definite conclusion for the effectiveness of CHM in CHD patients due specifically to the poor evidence. And according to PRISMA we found most of the trials in the SRs were of low quality. Conclusion. Primary endpoints were not used widely. The benefits of CHM for CHD need to be confirmed in the future with RCTs of more persuasive primary endpoints and high-quality SRs.