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Alternative treatment Medicine -- Clinical trials


Background and objectives: Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) reportedly have a much higher risk of death due to stroke. Faced with this heavy burden, it remains unclear if the Chinese herbal medicines (CHMs), the most common form complementary and alternative medicine, can lower the risk of stroke for them. This study aimed to evaluate the association of CHMs use with stroke risk among them. Materials and Methods: From a nationwide database, 11,456 AF patients aged ≧ 20 years between 1998 and 2007 were identified. Afterwards, we enrolled 2670 CHMs users and randomly selected 2670 non-CHMs users using the propensity score method. The occurrence of stroke was recorded until the end of 2012. Results: Within the follow-up period, 671 CHMs users and 900 non-CHMs users developed stroke, with incidence rates of 33.02 and 45.46 per 1000 person-years, respectively. CHMs use was associated with a 30% lower stroke risk, especially for those receiving CHMs for over two years. Conclusions: The findings of the present study suggest that adding CHMs to conventional therapy could decrease subsequent stroke risk for AF patients. It is also suggested that prospective randomized trials are needed to further clarify if the detected association revealed in this study supports a causal link, and to identify the specific CHMs that may be beneficial to AF patients.


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