Utilization trends in traditional Chinese medicine for acute myocardial infarction

Chung Yen Lu, Pei Chin Lu, Pei Chun Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

18 Scopus citations


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Among heart diseases, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is the most serious and life-threatening emergency. In Taiwan, heart disease has consistently ranked second among the top 10 leading causes of death since 2007, second only to malignant tumors; however, population-based studies on the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in AMI cases are limited. Aim of the study: This study investigated the characteristics of TCM users and prescriptions of TCM, and their differences between two cohorts of patients with AMI, identified 10 years apart. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using the Taiwan National Health Insurance claims database. From among two random sample of 1 million beneficiaries selected from the claims database, we identified two cohorts of patients with first hospitalization for AMI in between 2000–2001 and 2010–2011. Patients who had received TCM therapy within one year after hospital discharge were defined as TCM users, whereas, all the other patients with AMI were considered non-users of TCM. We compared the characteristics of TCM use and the patterns of prescriptions between the two cohorts. Results: The proportion of patients receiving TCM care was similar between the two AMI cohorts; 20% (85/418) of the patients were diagnosed in 2000–2001 and 21% (169/817) in 2010–2011. In the 2010–2011 AMI cohort, the proportion of men was smaller among TCM users than non-users, and TCM users were less likely to have hyperlipidemia. Among TCM users, the most frequently prescribed herb was Dan-shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, Salvia root) in both cohorts. The most commonly used Chinese herbal formulations were Xue-Fu-Zhu-Yu-Tang (Blood Mansion Dispel Stasis) for the 2000–2001 cohort and Zhi-Gan-Cao-Tang (Honey-Fried Licorice Decoction) for the 2010–2011 cohort. Conclusions: This study revealed the differences in the prescription frequency of Chinese herbal formulation among the two cohort of patients with AMI, suggesting that the practice of prescribing TCM has evolved from post-antique formula to classical remedies during the 10 years evaluated. Further investigations are needed to evaluate if the change in the utilization of Chinese herbal formulations impacts the effectiveness of the treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112010
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
StatePublished - 15 09 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Chinese herbal formulae
  • Traditional Chinese medicine


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