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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 831474, 10 pages
Review Article

External Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Venous Ulcers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

1Department of Dermatology, Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200437, China
2Department of Vessel, Shanghai TCM-Integrated Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200082, China

Received 22 May 2015; Revised 14 August 2015; Accepted 23 August 2015

Academic Editor: Yibin Feng

Copyright © 2015 Xin Li et al. 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. To evaluate the effectiveness of external application of traditional Chinese medicine (EA-TCM) on venous ulcers. Methods. Seven databases were searched until April 2015 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of EA-TCM for venous ulcers. Risk of bias was assessed using Cochrane Handbook guidelines. Study outcomes were presented as risk ratios (RRs) for dichotomous data or mean differences (MDs) for continuous data. Results. Sixteen of 193 potentially relevant trials met the inclusion criteria; however, their methodological qualities were low. Comparison of the same intervention strategies revealed significant differences in total effectiveness rates between EA-TCM and conventional therapy groups (RR = 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.16–1.29, and ). Compared to conventional therapy, EA-TCM combined with conventional therapy had a superior total effectiveness rate (RR = 1.11, 95% CI = 1.04–1.19, and ). There were no significant differences in recurrence rates during followup and final pain measurements between the experimental and those in the control groups (RR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.31–2.39, and ; MD −0.75, 95% CI = −2.15–0.65, and ). Conclusion. The evidence that EA-TCM is an effective treatment for venous ulcers is encouraging, but not conclusive due to the low methodological quality of the RCTs. Therefore, more high-quality RCTs with larger sample sizes are required.