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1.  The Clinical Value of Huangqi Injection in the Treatment of Leucopenia: A Meta-Analysis of Clinical Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83123.
Huangqi injection is derived from Astragalus membranaceus root. In China, recent reports of Huangqi injection for the treatment of leucopenia have emerged. However, a systematic review of these reports has not been performed. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis of clinical controlled trials to assess the clinical value of Huangqi injection in the treatment of leucopenia.
We searched the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), Wanfang Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Scientific Journals Full-text Database (VIP), as well as PubMed and EMBASE to collect the data about trials of Huangqi injection for treating leucopenia. A meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5.2 software.
A total of 13 studies involving 841 patients were included in this study. The overall study quality was lower according to the Jadad scale. The meta-analysis showed that experimentally treated patients experienced greater therapeutic efficacy and lower white blood cell counts than control groups treated with Western medicine (P < 0.05). No publication bias was evident, according to Egger’s test.
The validity of this meta-analysis was limited by the overall poor quality of the included studies. Huangqi injection may have potential clinical value in the treatment of leucopenia, but confirmation with rigorously well-designed multi-center trials is needed.
PMCID: PMC3861487  PMID: 24349444
2.  Meta-Analysis of the Clinical Value of Danshen Injection and Huangqi Injection in Liver Cirrhosis 
Objective. To evaluate the clinical value of Danshen injection and Huangqi injection for the treatment of liver cirrhosis. Methods. The Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), Chinese Scientific Journals Full-Text Database (VIP), Wanfang Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), PubMed, and EMBASE database were searched to collect the literatures about the randomized controlled trials involving the treatment of liver cirrhosis with Danshen injection combined with Huangqi injection, and the data analyses were performed using RevMan 4.2 software. Results. A total of 11 studies involving 1086 patients (trials group: 554 cases, control group: 532 cases) were included in this study. Compared with those in control group, the meta-analysis showed-that the total effectiveness rate and the level of serum albumin increased, while serum total bilirubin, alanine transmninase, type III procollagen, hyaluronic acid, laminin, and type-IV collagen decreased in trials group. The Jadad score ranged from 1 to 2 and the funnel plot analysis suggests that publication bias may occur. Conclusions. Danshen injection combined with Huangqi injection may promote the curative efficacy of liver cirrhosis, which is a promising novel treatment approach. The exact outcome needs to perform rigorously designed, multicenter, and large randomized controlled trials.
PMCID: PMC3771458  PMID: 24069058
3.  Oral Huangqi Formulae for Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Objective. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral Huangqi formulae for the treatment of stable COPD. Methods. The major databases were searched until September 2010 and supplemented with a manual search. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of oral Huangqi formulae that reported on lung function, St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire, symptom improvement and/or frequency of exacerbations were extracted by two reviewers. The Cochrane tool was used for the assessment of risk of bias in the included trials. Data were analyzed with RevMan 5.1.2 software. Results. 25 RCTs (1,661 participants) were included. Compared with conventional therapy (CT) alone, oral Huangqi formulae plus CT increased FEV1, and a similar result was found comparing Huangqi formulae with no treatment. Improvements in SGRQ total score, COPD-related symptoms and reduction of frequency of exacerbations were found in patients receiving Huangqi formulae plus CT compared to those receiving CT alone or CT plus placebo. No serious adverse events were reported. However, there were some methodological inadequacies in the included studies. Conclusions. The benefits of Huangqi formulae for stable COPD were promising, but its efficacy and safety have not been established due to methodological weakness and possible bias in the reported results. Further rigorously designed studies are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3623121  PMID: 23606889
4.  Effects of Huangqi and bear bile on recurrent parotitis in children: a new clinical approach*  
Objective: To evaluate the pharmacological effects of traditional Chinese medicine, bear bile capsule and Huangqi granule, on recurrent parotitis in children. Methods: In this prospective, controlled, and randomized study, a total of 151 young children were divided into three groups: Group A included massaging the children’s parotid region and melting vitamin C in their mouth daily; Group B included swallowing bear bile capsule and Huangqi granule daily; and Group C included massages and vitamin C as prescribed in Group A, and traditional Chinese medicine as prescribed in Group B. Children were treated individually for one month and then a follow-up study was conducted for 1 to 3.5 years. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Ridit analysis were employed for statistical analysis. Results: The recurrence rate decreased in every group, but was significantly more in Groups B and C when compared to Group A. The recurrences significantly decreased (P<0.01) in Group B and their recovery rate was as high as 63%, significantly better than those of the other groups (P<0.01). Conclusions: Huangqi and bear bile could be a novel clinical approach for treating recurrent parotitis in children.
PMCID: PMC3596577  PMID: 23463769
Juvenile recurrent parotitis; Therapy; Pediatrics; Traditional Chinese medicine; Prospective study
5.  Effects of Yinchenhao Tang and related decoctions on DMN-induced cirrhosis/fibrosis in rats 
Chinese Medicine  2008;3:1.
Chinese medicine decoctions such as Yinchenhao Tang (YCHT), Xiayuxue Tang (XYXT), Huangqi Tang (HQT), Yiguan Jian (YGJ) and Xiaochaihu Tang (XCHT)) were used to treat liver cirrhosis. The present study evaluates the effects of these decoctions on fibrosis in rats induced by dimethylnitrosamine (DMN).
DMN solution (0.5%) was injected to rats for three consecutive days per week for four weeks. At the beginning of week 3, rats were randomly divided into 4-week DMN control group, YCHT, XYXT, HQT, YGJ, XCHT and vehicle groups. Each group was orally administered with specific decoctions daily for two weeks. Rats in the vehicle group were orally administered with only water.
Liver fibrosis and cirrhosis were observed in weeks 2 and 4 in DMN-intoxicated rats. Compared with normal rats, alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities and level of total bilirubin acid (TBA) in serum and content of Hydroxyproline (Hyp) in liver tissue of model group rats rose significantly. However, the albumin (Alb) level in serum decreased significantly. Compared with the 4-week DMN group, the pathological conditions and functions of the liver in the YCHT group improved significantly, and the content of Hyp decreased remarkably: only one rat in this group developed liver cirrhosis and the ratio of cirrhosis was only 8.3%. On the other hand, the other decoctions did not show remarkable effects. YCHT inhibited α-SMA activation, including its gene expression into mRNA and protein.
Among the five Chinese medicine decoctions, YCHT exerted the most significant therapeutic effects on DMN-induced cirrhosis/fibrosis in rats.
PMCID: PMC2267793  PMID: 18237412
6.  Chinese Medicine Shenfu Injection for Heart Failure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Objective. Heart failure (HF) is a global public health problem. Early literature studies manifested that Shenfu injection (SFI) is one of the most commonly used traditional Chinese patent medicine for HF in China. This article intended to systematically evaluate the efficacy and safety of SFI for HF. Methods. An extensive search was performed within 6 English and Chinese electronic database up to November 2011. Ninety-nine randomized controlled trails (RCTs) were collected, irrespective of languages. Two authors extracted data and assessed the trial quality independently. RevMan 5.0.2 was used for data analysis. Results. Compared with routine treatment and/or device support, SFI combined with routine treatment and/or device support showed better effect on clinical effect rate, mortality, heart rate, NT-proBNP and 6-minute walk distance. Results in ultrasonic cardiography also showed that SFI combined with routine treatment improved heart function of HF patients. There were no significant difference in blood pressure between SFI and routine treatment groups. Adverse events were reported in thirteen trails with thirteen specific symptoms, while no serious adverse effect was reported. Conclusion. SFI appear to be effective for treating HF. However, further rigorously designed RCTs are warranted because of insufficient methodological rigor in the majority of included trials.
PMCID: PMC3348640  PMID: 22611430
7.  Clinical Effects of Xinmailong Therapy in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure 
In the last 100 years, intensive studies have been done on the identification of the systematic approaches to find the cure for the chronic heart failure, however the mystery remains unresolved due to its complicated pathogenesis and ineffective early diagnosis. The present investigation was aimed to evaluate the potential effects of the traditional chinese medicine, Xinmailong, on the chronic heart failure (CHF) patients as compared to the standard western medical treatment available so far. In our study, we selected two groups of voluntary CHF patients at the Xiangya Hospital, which were allowed to administrate Xinmailong or standard treatments, respectively. Another group of voluntary healthy individuals were recruited as the control group. The treatment effectiveness was measured by five symptomatic factors, i.e. angiotensin II (Ang_II), high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs_CRP), Left Ventricular End Systolic Volume Index (LVESVI), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT_proBNP), between the control group and the CHF patients at different stages of drug administration and in different treatment groups. The timeline for the full dose administration was set to 15 days and five measurements as indicated above were taken on every 0, 7th and 15th day of the drug administration respectively. In the conducted study, similar symptomatic measurements were observed on day 0 in both treatment groups, and slight improvements were observed on 7th day. It was observed that after a full course of drug administration for 15 days, both of the treatment groups achieved statistically significant improvements in all the five measures, but Xinmailong was found to be more (almost double) statistically significant as compared with the available drug treatments for chronic heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3619101  PMID: 23569425
Chronic heart failure; Traditional Chinese Medicine; Xinmailong.
8.  Astragalus Injection for Hypertensive Renal Damage: A Systematic Review 
Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of astragalus injection (a traditional Chinese patent medicine) for patients with renal damage induced by hypertension according to the available evidence. Methods. We searched MEDLINE, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese VIP Information, China Biology Medicine (CBM), and Chinese Medical Citation Index (CMCI), and the date of search starts from the first of database to August 2011. No language restriction was applied. We included randomized controlled trials testing astragalus injection against placebo or astragalus injection plus antihypertensive drugs against antihypertensive drugs. Study selection, data extraction, quality assessment, and data analyses were conducted according to the Cochrane review standards. Results. 5 randomized trials (involving 429 patients) were included and the methodological quality was evaluated as generally low. The pooled results showed that astragalus injection was more effective in lowering β2-microglobulin (β2-MG), microalbuminuria (mAlb) compared with placebo, and it was also superior to prostaglandin in lowering blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine clearance rate (Ccr). There were no adverse effects reported in the trials from astragalus injection. Conclusions. Astragalus injection showed protective effects in hypertensive renal damage patients, although available studies are not adequate to draw a definite conclusion due to low quality of included trials. More rigorous clinical trials with high quality are warranted to give high level of evidence.
PMCID: PMC3345783  PMID: 22577466
9.  Exercise training and heart failure: a systematic review of current evidence. 
Chronic heart failure (CHEF) is a growing public health problem. Current guidelines provide detailed information regarding pharmacotherapy but little guidance about the value of exercise/cardiac rehabilitation programmes for individuals with this condition. To investigate the effects of exercise training upon CHF patients, a systematic literature review was carried out of trials (from 1966 to December 2000) which used as their main outcome measures the effects of exercise training upon: (a) physical performance; or (b) quality of life; or (c) morbidity/mortality. Databases searched include: MedLine; Science Citation Index; Social Sciences Citation Index; BIDS, Bandolier; Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR); NHS National Research Register (NRR); and Current Research in Britain (CRIB). Relevant bibliographic references from identified articles were also reviewed. Thirty-one trials were identified, comprising randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (14/31), randomised crossover trials (8/31), non-RCTs (2/31), and pre-test/post-test (7/31). Sample sizes were: 25 participants or fewer (20/31); 26 to 50 participants (7/31); 51 to 150 participants (4/31). Participants were predominantly younger with a mean age in 23/31 studies of 65 years or less, and male. Patients with comorbidities were often excluded. Positive effects were reported on physical performance (27/31), quality of life (11/16), mortality (1/31), and readmission rates (1/31). No cost-effectiveness analyses were identfied. We conclude that short-term physical exercise training in selected subgroups of patients with CHF has physiological benefits and positive effects on quality of life. This review highlights the continuing problem of clinical trials that include participants who are not representative of the general population of CHF patients seen in primary care. Further investigation of the utility and applicability of exercise training is essential.
PMCID: PMC1314201  PMID: 11791816
10.  Statins in the Treatment of Chronic Heart Failure: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(8):e333.
The efficacy of statin therapy in patients with established chronic heart failure (CHF) is a subject of much debate.
Methods and Findings
We conducted three systematic literature searches to assess the evidence supporting the prescription of statins in CHF. First, we investigated the participation of CHF patients in randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials designed to evaluate the efficacy of statins in reducing major cardiovascular events and mortality. Second, we assessed the association between serum cholesterol and outcome in CHF. Finally, we evaluated the ability of statin treatment to modify surrogate endpoint parameters in CHF.
Using validated search strategies, we systematically searched PubMed for our three queries. In addition, we searched the reference lists from eligible studies, used the “see related articles” feature for key publications in PubMed, consulted the Cochrane Library, and searched the ISI Web of Knowledge for papers citing key publications.
Search 1 resulted in the retrieval of 47 placebo-controlled clinical statin trials involving more than 100,000 patients. CHF patients had, however, been systematically excluded from these trials. Search 2 resulted in the retrieval of eight studies assessing the relationship between cholesterol levels and outcome in CHF patients. Lower serum cholesterol was consistently associated with increased mortality. Search 3 resulted in the retrieval of 18 studies on the efficacy of statin treatment in CHF. On the whole, these studies reported favorable outcomes for almost all surrogate endpoints.
Since CHF patients have been systematically excluded from randomized, controlled clinical cholesterol-lowering trials, the effect of statin therapy in these patients remains to be established. Currently, two large, randomized, placebo-controlled statin trials are under way to evaluate the efficacy of statin treatment in terms of reducing clinical endpoints in CHF patients in particular.
A systematic review found that patients with heart failure have been excluded from randomised controlled trials on the use of statins. Evidence from other studies on the effectiveness of statins for patients with heart failure is weak and conflicting.
Editors' Summary
When medical researchers test a drug—or some other treatment—for a particular medical condition, they often decide not to include in their study anyone who has, in addition to the disease they are interested in, certain other health problems. This is because including patients with two or more conditions can complicate the analysis of the results and make it hard to reach firm conclusions. However, excluding patients in this way can result in uncertainty as to whether treatments are effective for anyone who suffers from the disease in question, or just for people like those who took part in the research.
A great deal of research has been conducted with drugs known as statins, which lower cholesterol levels in the blood. (A raised level of cholesterol is known to be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which causes heart attacks and strokes.) As a result of this research, statins have been accepted as effective and safe. They are now, in consequence, among the most commonly prescribed medicines. Heart failure, however, is not the same thing as a heart attack. It is the name given to the condition where the muscles of the heart have become weakened, most often as a result of aging, and the heart becomes gradually less efficient at pumping blood around the body. (Some people with heart failure live for many years, but 70% of those with the condition die within ten years.) It is common for people with cardiovascular disease also to have heart failure. Nevertheless, some researchers who have studied the effects of statins have made the decision not to include in their studies any patients with cardiovascular disease who, in addition, have heart failure.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers in this study were aware that patients with heart failure have often been excluded from statin trials. They felt it was important to assess the available evidence supporting the prescription of statins for such patients. Specifically, they wanted to find out the following: how often have patients with heart failure been included in statin trials, what evidence is available as to whether it is beneficial for patients with heart failure to have low cholesterol, and what evidence is there that prescribing statins helps these patients?
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They did not do any new work involving patients. Instead, they did a very thorough search for all relevant studies of good quality that had already been published and they reviewed the results. “Randomized clinical trials” (RCTs) are the most reliable type of medical research. The researchers found there had been 47 such trials (involving over 100,000 patients) on the use of statins for treating cardiovascular disease, but all these trials had excluded heart failure patients. They found eight studies (which were not RCTs) looking at cholesterol levels and heart failure. These studies found, perhaps surprisingly, that death rates were higher in those patients with heart failure who had low cholesterol. However, they also found 18 studies (again not RCTs) on the use of statins in patients with heart failure. These 18 studies seemed to suggest that statins were of benefit to the patients who received them.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The evidence for or against prescribing statins for people with heart failure is limited, conflicting, and unclear. Further research involving RTCs is necessary. (Two such trials are known to be in progress.)
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
General information about statins is available from the Web site of Patient UK
The American Heart Association Web site is a good source of information about all types of heart disease, including heart attacks and heart failure
For a definition of randomized controlled trials see Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit
More detailed information about the quality of evidence from medical research may be found in the James Lind Library
PMCID: PMC1551909  PMID: 16933967
11.  Orthostatic Hypotension and the Risk of Congestive Heart Failure: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63169.
Orthostatic hypotension (OH) has been related to the increased risk of future congestive heart failure (CHF) events. However, the overall quantitative estimate of predictive ability of OH for CHF has not been determined. We therefore performed a meta-analysis to investigate the association between OH and incident CHF.
Prospective cohort studies relevant to the aim of the study were identified by searching of Medline and Embase databases up to December 25, 2012 without restrictions and by reviewing the reference lists from retrieved articles.
A total of 51270 subjects and 3603 incident CHF cases from 4 prospective cohorts were included in the meta-analysis. Using random effect model, the pooled result indicated that presence of OH at baseline was significantly associated with an increased risk for future CHF outcomes (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.30, 95% confidence interval 1.09–1.55; p = 0.004). Results of stratified analysis suggested that the association between OH and CHF incidence seemed to be significant in middle-age subjects, or the individuals with hypertension and diabetes at baseline, but did not significant in the elderly subjects or those without hypertension or diabetes.
Our meta-analysis confirmed that presence of OH is related to a significant increased risk for development of CHF in the future. Studies are needed to explore the potential mechanisms underlying this association. More importantly, screen for OH may be of great clinical significance for the early identification of subjects at higher risk for development of CHF.
PMCID: PMC3652866  PMID: 23675460
12.  A Chinese Herbal Decoction, Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang, Prepared from Radix Astragali and Radix Angelicae sinensis, Ameliorates Insulin Resistance Induced by A High-Fructose Diet in Rats 
Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang (DBT), a Chinese medicinal decoction contains Radix Angelicae sinensis (Danggui) and Radix Astragali (Huangqi) at a ratio of 1 : 5, is used commonly for treating women's ailments. This study was conducted to explore the effects of this preparation on insulin resistance in rats fed with 6-week diet containing 60% fructose. Similar to the action of rosiglitazone (4 mg kg−1 per day by an oral administration), repeated oral administration of DBT (2.5 g kg−1 per day) for 14 days was found to significantly alleviate the hyperglycemia but made no influence on plasma lipid profiles nor weight gain in fructose chow-fed rats. Also, the higher degree of insulin resistance as measured by homeostasis model assessment of basal insulin resistance in fructose chow-fed rats was significantly decreased by repeated DBT treatment. DBT displays the characteristic of rosiglitazone by increasing the whole-body insulin sensitivity in fructose chow-fed rats after 2-week treatment, as evidenced by the marked elevation of composite whole-body insulin sensitivity index during the oral glucose tolerance test. DBT improves insulin sensitivity through increased post-receptor insulin signaling mediated by enhancements in insulin receptor substrate-1-associated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase step and glucose transporter subtype 4 translocation in soleus muscles of animals exhibiting insulin resistance. DBT is therefore proposed as potentially useful adjuvant therapy for patients with insulin resistance and/or the patients who wish to increase insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3095507  PMID: 19233878
13.  Potential effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine for cardiac syndrome X (CSX): a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Treatment of cardiac syndrome X with unknown pathological mechanism remains a big challenge for clinicians. Complementary and alternative medicine may bring a new choice for its management. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical effects of traditional Chinese medicine on cardiac syndrome X patients.
We systematically searched databases such as Cochrane CENTRAL, PubMed, EMBASE, CBM, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), WanFang and VIP, and handsearched relevant journals to identify randomized controlled trials. Following the steps of systematic review recommended by the Cochrane group, we assessed the quality of included studies, extracted valid data and undertook meta-analysis.
Twenty one moderate-to low-quality randomized controlled trials involving 1143 patients were included. The results showed that traditional Chinese medicine could improve angina [OR=1.34, 95% CI: 1.2 to 1.50], electrocardiogram (ECG), endothelin-1 (ET-1) levels, prolong exercise duration in treadmill tests, and reduce angina frequency per week compared with routine treatment. No other side effect was reported except two cases of stomach pain.
Compared with conventional treatment, traditional Chinese medicine shows the potential of optimizing symptomatic outcomes and improving ECG and exercise duration. The efficacy of TCM may find explanation in its pharmacological activity of adjusting the endothelial function. TCM, as a kind of alternative and complementary medicine, may provide another choice for CSX patients.
PMCID: PMC3662595  PMID: 23497135
14.  Ingredients of Huangqi decoction slow biliary fibrosis progression by inhibiting the activation of the transforming growth factor-beta signaling pathway 
Huangqi decoction was first described in Prescriptions of the Bureau of Taiping People's Welfare Pharmacy in Song Dynasty (AD 1078), and it is an effective recipe that is usually used to treat consumptive disease, anorexia, and chronic liver diseases. Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) plays a key role in the progression of liver fibrosis, and Huangqi decoction and its ingredients (IHQD) markedly ameliorated hepatic fibrotic lesions induced by ligation of the common bile duct (BDL). However, the mechanism of IHQD on hepatic fibrotic lesions is not yet clear. The purpose of the present study is to elucidate the roles of TGFβ1 activation, Smad-signaling pathway, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the pathogenesis of biliary fibrosis progression and the antifibrotic mechanism of IHQD.
A liver fibrosis model was induced by ligation of the common bile duct (BDL) in rats. Sham-operation was performed in control rats. The BDL rats were randomly divided into two groups: the BDL group and the IHQD group. IHQD was administrated intragastrically for 4 weeks. At the end of the fifth week after BDL, animals were sacrificed for sampling of blood serum and liver tissue. The effect of IHQD on the TGFβ1 signaling pathway was evaluated by western blotting and laser confocal microscopy.
Decreased content of hepatic hydroxyproline and improved liver function and histopathology were observed in IHQD rats. Hepatocytes, cholangiocytes, and myofibroblasts in the cholestatic liver injury released TGFβ1, and activated TGFβ1 receptors can accelerate liver fibrosis. IHQD markedly inhibited the protein expression of TGFβ1, TGFβ1 receptors, Smad3, and p-ERK1/2 expression with no change of Smad7 expression.
IHQD exert significant therapeutic effects on BDL-induced fibrosis in rats through inhibition of the activation of TGFβ1-Smad3 and TGFβ1-ERK1/2 signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC3419610  PMID: 22471627
Ingredients of Huangqi decoction; Cholestatic liver fibrosis; Transforming growth factor beta 1; Smad-signaling pathway, Extracellular signal-regulated kinase
15.  The Systematic Guideline Review: Method, rationale, and test on chronic heart failure 
Evidence-based guidelines have the potential to improve healthcare. However, their de-novo-development requires substantial resources – especially for complex conditions, and adaptation may be biased by contextually influenced recommendations in source guidelines. In this paper we describe a new approach to guideline development – the systematic guideline review method (SGR), and its application in the development of an evidence-based guideline for family physicians on chronic heart failure (CHF).
A systematic search for guidelines was carried out. Evidence-based guidelines on CHF management in adults in ambulatory care published in English or German between the years 2000 and 2004 were included. Guidelines on acute or right heart failure were excluded. Eligibility was assessed by two reviewers, methodological quality of selected guidelines was appraised using the AGREE instrument, and a framework of relevant clinical questions for diagnostics and treatment was derived. Data were extracted into evidence tables, systematically compared by means of a consistency analysis and synthesized in a preliminary draft. Most relevant primary sources were re-assessed to verify the cited evidence. Evidence and recommendations were summarized in a draft guideline.
Of 16 included guidelines five were of good quality. A total of 35 recommendations were systematically compared: 25/35 were consistent, 9/35 inconsistent, and 1/35 un-rateable (derived from a single guideline). Of the 25 consistencies, 14 were based on consensus, seven on evidence and four differed in grading. Major inconsistencies were found in 3/9 of the inconsistent recommendations. We re-evaluated the evidence for 17 recommendations (evidence-based, differing evidence levels and minor inconsistencies) – the majority was congruent. Incongruity was found where the stated evidence could not be verified in the cited primary sources, or where the evaluation in the source guidelines focused on treatment benefits and underestimated the risks. The draft guideline was completed in 8.5 man-months. The main limitation to this study was the lack of a second reviewer.
The systematic guideline review including framework development, consistency analysis and validation is an effective, valid, and resource saving-approach to the development of evidence-based guidelines.
PMCID: PMC2698839  PMID: 19426504
Our previous study demonstrated that oral treatment with simvastatin (SIM) suppressed renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) in the rabbits with chronic heart failure (CHF). The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effects of direct application of SIM to the central nervous system on RSNA and its relevant mechanisms. Experiments were carried out on 21 male New Zealand White rabbits with pacing induced CHF. The CHF rabbits received infusion of vehicle, SIM, or SIM + L-NAME into the lateral cerebral ventricle via osmotic minipump for 7 days. We found that, (1) In CHF rabbits, icv infusion of SIM significantly suppressed basal RSNA (1st day 69.5 ± 8.9 % of Max; 7th day 26.0 ± 6.0 % of Max. P < 0.05, n = 7) and enhanced arterial baroreflex function starting from the 2nd day and lasting through the following 5 days; (2) Statin treatment significantly upregulated nNOS protein expression in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) (Control, n = 6, 0.12 ± 0.04; SIM treated, n = 7, 0.31 ± 0.05. P < 0.05); (3) In CATH.a neurons, incubation with SIM significantly upregulated the nNOS mRNA expression, which was blocked by co-incubation with Mevalonate, farnesyl-pyrophosphate, or geranylgeranyl-pyrophosphate; (4) Incubation with Y-27632 significantly upregulated nNOS mRNA expression in these neurons. These results suggest that central treatment with SIM decreased sympathetic outflow in CHF rabbits via up regulation of nNOS expression in RVLM, which may be due to the inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase and a decrease in Rho Kinase by SIM.
PMCID: PMC2575087  PMID: 18441251
17.  Ligustrazine Injection for Chronic Pulmonary Heart Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Objective. This study was intended to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ligustrazine injection for chronic pulmonary heart disease (CPHD). Method. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of clinical therapeutic studies on CPHD when using ligustrazine injection were included. Searches were applied to the following electronic databases: the PubMed, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, CBM, and AMED. No language restriction was used. All trials included were analyzed according to the criteria of the Cochrane Handbook. Review Manager 5.0 software was used for data analysis. Result. 34 RCTs with low methodological quality were included. Compared to conventional medicine treatment alone, ligustrazine injection plus conventional medicine treatment showed improvement in New York Heart Association classification of clinical status (Odds ratio 0.22; 95% CI 0.17 to 0.28) and depression of pulmonary artery hypertension (weighted mean difference −4.77; 95% CI −5.85 to −3.68). Three studies had reported adverse events. No serious adverse effects were reported. Conclusion. While there is some evidence that suggests potential effectiveness of ligustrazine injection for CPHD, the results were limited by the methodological flaws of the studies. High quality studies are needed to provide clear evidence for the future use of ligustrazine injection.
PMCID: PMC3155792  PMID: 21860655
18.  The importance of organizational characteristics for improving outcomes in patients with chronic disease: a systematic review of congestive heart failure 
Despite applications of models of care and organizational or system-level interventions to improve patient outcomes for chronic disease, consistent improvements have not been achieved. This may reflect a mismatch between the interventions and the nature of the settings in which they are attempted. The application of complex adaptive systems (CAS) framework to understand clinical systems and inform efforts to improve them may lead to more successful interventions. We performed a systematic review of interventions to improve outcomes of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) to examine whether interventions consistent with CAS are more likely to be effective. We then examine differences between interventions that are most effective for improving outcomes for patients with CHF versus previously published data for type 2 diabetes to explore the potential impact of the nature of the disease on the types of interventions that are more likely to be effective.
We conducted a systematic review of the literature between 1998 and 2008 of organizational interventions to improve care of patients with CHF. Two independent reviewers independently assessed studies that met inclusion criteria to determine whether each reported intervention reflected one or more CAS characteristics. The effectiveness of interventions was rated as either 0 (no effect), 0.5 (mixed effect), or 1.0 (effective) based on the type, number, and significance of reported outcomes. Fisher's exact test was used to examine the association between CAS characteristics and intervention effectiveness. Specific CAS characteristics associated with intervention effectiveness for CHF were contrasted with previously published data for type 2 diabetes.
Results and discussion
Forty-four studies describing 46 interventions met eligibility criteria. All interventions utilized at least one CAS characteristic, and 85% were either 'mixed effect' or 'effective' in terms of outcomes. The number of CAS characteristics present in each intervention was associated with effectiveness (p < 0.001), supporting the idea that interventions consistent with CAS are more likely to be effective. The individual CAS characteristics associated with CHF intervention effectiveness were learning, self-organization, and co-evolution, a finding different from our previously published analysis of interventions for diabetes. We suggest this difference may be related to the degree of uncertainty involved in caring for patients with diabetes versus CHF.
These results suggest that for interventions to be effective, they must be consistent with the CAS nature of clinical systems. The difference in specific CAS characteristics associated with intervention effectiveness for CHF and diabetes suggests that interventions must also take into account attributes of the disease.
PMCID: PMC2936445  PMID: 20735859
19.  Update in diagnosis and therapy of coexistent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic heart failure 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2012;4(3):310-315.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic heart failure (CHF) frequently coexist in clinical practice as they share the same risk factors. The manifestations of COPD and CHF are similar. Exertional dyspnoea, easy fatigability and reduced exercise tolerance are common to COPD and CHF and required careful interpretation. Pulmonary function tests, plasma natriuretic peptides, echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging should be carried out to acquire the objective evidence of pulmonary and cardiac function when necessary. Robust studies indicate that patients with COPD tolerate the cardioselective β-blockers well, so it should not be denied to CHF patients with concomitant COPD. Low-dose initiation and gradual uptitration of cardioselective β-blockers is currently recommended. However, β2-agonists should be used with cautions in COPD patients with CHF, especially in acute exacerbations. Statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin-receptor blockers may reduce the morbidity and mortality of the patients with COPD.
PMCID: PMC3378198  PMID: 22754671
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; chronic heart failure; beta blockers
20.  Barriers and facilitators to self-care in chronic heart failure: a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:320.
Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a costly condition that places large demands on self-care. Failure to adhere with self-care recommendations is common and associated with frequent hospitalization. Understanding the factors that enable or inhibit self-care is essential in developing effective health care interventions. This qualitative review was conducted to address the research question, "What are the barriers and facilitators to self-care among patients with CHF?” Electronic databases including Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus and Google scholar were searched. Articles were included if they were peer reviewed (1995 to 2012), in English language and investigated at least one contextual or individual factor impacting on self-care in CHF patients > 18years. The criteria defined by Kuper et al. including clarity and appropriateness of sampling, data collection and data analysis were used to appraise the quality of articles. Twenty-three articles met the inclusion criteria. Factors impacting on self-care were included factors related to symptoms of CHF and the self-care process; factors related to personal characteristics; and factors related to environment and self-care system. Important factors such as socioeconomic situation and education level have not been explored extensively and there were minimal data on the influence of age, gender, self-confidence and duration of disease. Although there is an emerging literature, further research is required to address the barriers and facilitators to self-care in patients with CHF in order to provide an appropriate guide for intervention strategies to improve self-care in CHF.
PMCID: PMC3727080  PMID: 23961394
Congestive heart failure; CHF; Self-management; Treatment adherence; Compliance; Self-care determinants; Qualitative review
21.  Prospective memory and chronic heart failure 
Patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) experience a number of debilitating symptoms, which impact on activities of daily living and result in poor quality of life. Prospective memory, which is defined as memory to carry out future intentions, has not been investigated in this group. However, emerging evidence suggests CHF patients have difficulties with cognitive processes related to prospective memory. Self-care, which partly relies on prospective memory, is essential in symptom management and preventing acute clinical deterioration. This study aims to measure prospective memory in CHF patients, and examine the relationship between prospective memory and CHF self-care.
A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment will be conducted to assess a range of cognitive functions and psychopathology. The primary focus will be an assessment of prospective memory using a well-established behavioral measure; Virtual Week. Thirty CHF patients attending a nurse-led management program will be recruited from three hospital sites in Melbourne, Australia and their self-care behaviors will be assessed using the Self-care Chronic Heart Failure Index (SCHFI), a validated self-report tool. An additional 30 healthy controls, matched on age, gender, and IQ will be recruited from the general community.
This is a group comparison study that will provide an evaluation of the prospective memory abilities of CHF patients. The findings of this research will provide insight into whether prospective memory may be hindering patients’ ability to perform adequate self-care.
PMCID: PMC3766272  PMID: 23984757
Chronic heart failure; Self-care; Cognitive function; Prospective memory
22.  Disease management programme for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and heart failure in primary care: a cluster randomised controlled trial 
Heart  2007;93(11):1398-1405.
To evaluate the effect of a disease management programme for patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and chronic heart failure (CHF) in primary care.
A cluster randomised controlled trial of 1316 patients with CHD and CHF from 20 primary care practices in the UK was carried out. Care in the intervention practices was delivered by specialist nurses trained in the management of patients with CHD and CHF. Usual care was delivered by the primary healthcare team in the control practices.
At follow up, significantly more patients with a history of myocardial infarction in the intervention group were prescribed a beta‐blocker compared to the control group (adjusted OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.99). Significantly more patients with CHD in the intervention group had adequate management of their blood pressure (<140/85 mm Hg) (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.22 to 2.13) and their cholesterol (<5 mmol/l) (OR 1.58, 95% CI 1.05 to 2.37) compared to those in the control group. Significantly more patients with an unconfirmed diagnosis of CHF had a diagnosis of left ventricular systolic dysfunction confirmed (OR 4.69, 95% CI 1.88 to 11.66) or excluded (OR 3.80, 95% CI 1.50 to 9.64) in the intervention group compared to the control group. There were significant improvements in some quality‐of‐life measures in patients with CHD in the intervention group.
Disease management programmes can lead to improvements in the care of patients with CHD and presumed CHF in primary care.
PMCID: PMC2016933  PMID: 17309907
23.  Intermedin in the Paraventricular Nucleus Attenuates Cardiac Sympathetic Afferent Reflex in Chronic Heart Failure Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94234.
Background and Aim
Intermedin (IMD) is a member of calcitonin/calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) family together with adrenomedullin (AM) and amylin. It has a wide distribution in the central nervous system (CNS) especially in hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Cardiac sympathetic afferent reflex (CSAR) is enhanced in chronic heart failure (CHF) rats. The aim of this study is to determine the effect of IMD in the PVN on CSAR and its related mechanisms in CHF rats.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Rats were subjected to left descending coronary artery ligation to induce CHF or sham-operation (Sham). Renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) were recorded. CSAR was evaluated by the RSNA and MAP responses to epicardial application of capsaicin. Acute experiments were carried out 8 weeks after coronary ligation or sham surgery under anesthesia. IMD and angiotensin II (Ang II) levels in the PVN were up-regulated in CHF rats. Bilateral PVN microinjection of IMD caused greater decreases in CSAR and the baseline RSNA and MAP in CHF rats than those in Sham rats. The decrease of CSAR caused by IMD was prevented by pretreatment with AM receptor antagonist AM22-52, but not CGRP receptor antagonist CGRP8-37. Ang II in the PVN significantly enhanced CSAR and superoxide anions level, which was inhibited by PVN pretreatment with IMD or tempol (a superoxide anions scavenger) in Sham and CHF rats.
IMD in the PVN inhibits CSAR via AM receptor, and attenuates the effects of Ang II on CSAR and superoxide anions level in CHF rats. PVN superoxide anions involve in the effect of IMD on attenuating Ang II-induced CSAR response.
PMCID: PMC3978024  PMID: 24709972
24.  Abnormal Baroreflex Function is Dissociated from Central Angiotensin II Receptor Expression in Chronic Heart Failure 
Shock (Augusta, Ga.)  2012;37(3):319-324.
Neurohumoral disturbances characterize chronic heart failure (CHF) and are reflected, in part, as impairment of baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) and sympathetic function. However the mechanisms that trigger these neurohumoral abnormalities in CHF are not clear. We hypothesized that the BRS is blunted early in CHF and that the humoral effects occur later and contribute to progressive loss of cardiovascular control in CHF. We assessed the BRS (bpm/mmHg) and recorded renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) in four groups of conscious rabbits at varying time intervals; control, one week CHF, two week CHF and three week CHF. CHF was induced by ventricular pacing at 360 bpm and was assessed by echocardiography. Arterial blood pressure and heart rate were recorded by an implanted telemetric device and RSNA through an implanted electrode. A significant fall in the ejection fraction, fractional shortening and an increase in LVESD & LVEDD was observed in all CHF groups. The BRS was significantly reduced in all the CHF groups with no significant change in the basal RSNA(% of maximum) after 1 week of pacing, a small but insignificant rise in RSNA was seen at 2 weeks and a significant rise in RSNA was observed at 3 weeks. AT1 receptor protein (Western Blot) and mRNA (RT-PCR) expression in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) exhibited a progressive increase with the duration of CHF, reaching significance after 3 weeks, the same time point in which RSNA was significantly elevated. These data are the first to examine early changes in central AT1 receptors in CHF and suggest that the fall in BRS and hemodynamic changes occur early in the development of CHF followed by sympatho-excitation and over-expression of AT1 receptors with the progression of CHF causing further impairment of cardiovascular control.
PMCID: PMC3281308  PMID: 22258229
Baroreflex; heart failure; sympathetic activity; angiotensin II receptor
25.  Prevention of relapse in patients with congestive heart failure: the role of precipitating factors 
Heart  1998;80(5):432-436.
Relapse of congestive heart failure (CHF) frequently occurs and has serious consequences in terms of morbidity, mortality, and health care expenditure. Many studies have investigated the aetiological and prognostic factors of CHF, but there are only limited data on the role of precipitating factors that trigger relapse of CHF. Knowledge of potential precipitating factors may help to optimise treatment and provide guidance for patients with CHF. The literature was reviewed to identify factors that may influence haemodynamic homeostasis in CHF. Precipitating factors that may offer opportunities for preventing relapse of CHF were selected. Potential precipitating factors are discussed in relation to the pathophysiology of CHF: alcohol, smoking, psychological stress, uncontrolled hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial ischaemia, poor treatment compliance, and inappropriate medical treatment. Poor treatment compliance in particular is frequently encountered in patients with CHF. Furthermore, studies of medical treatment under everyday circumstances indicate that some aspects of the management of CHF can be improved. In conclusion, the identification of precipitating factors for relapse of CHF may strongly contribute to optimal treatment. Improvement of treatment compliance and optimalisation of medical treatment may offer important possibilities to clinicians to reduce the number of relapses in patients with CHF.

 Keywords: congestive heart failure;  precipitating factors;  prevention
PMCID: PMC1728829  PMID: 9930039

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