The Prognostic Value of Traditional Chinese Medicine Symptoms in Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Pilot Study

Jia Xu, Jian Pei, Qin-Hui Fu, Yi-Jun Zhan
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: ECAM 2020, 2020: 1520851

Background: Stroke scales of traditional Chinese medicine (SSTCM) are promoted for use in the early prognosis. The current lines of evidence to support their performance evaluation are uneven. This pilot study aimed to investigate the correlation between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) symptoms in the early stages of acute ischemic stroke and the prognosis of motor dysfunction through one-year of follow-up.

Methods: Three hundred and fifteen patients were retrospected at Longhua Hospital from January 2016 to December 2017. All patients had received standard treatments combined with acupuncture therapy, including both electroacupuncture and scalp acupuncture for a median course of five months. The observed outcomes were the Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA), the modified Barthel index (MBI), and the modified Rankin scale (mRS) at one-year follow-up after stroke onset by multiple linear regression analysis combined with ROC curves.

Results: The favorable outcome rate was 74.3%, with the recurrence rate of 20.3% in the follow-up. In multiple linear regression, 10 TCM symptoms (MBI regression model) were related to the prognosis of MBI (DW 1.409, Ad. R 2 0.654) and 10 TCM symptoms (FMA regression model) were related to the FMA outcome (DW 1.446, Ad R 2 0.620). The two models were selected to have nine repeated symptoms (repeated model). In the ROC curves, the three models were compared with the NIHSS score, and the MBI regression model reflected the highest efficiency.

Conclusions: The combination of 10 TCM symptoms, once onset occurred, including hemiplegia, restlessness, hemianesthesia, short breath, headache, constipation, night sweat, tinnitus, thirsty, and gurgling with sputum, may affect the recovery of motor dysfunction. Furthermore, the improvements of TCM symptoms dynamically after treatment would be observed in a large prospective cohort. This trial is registered with NCT01806233.

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