For many years, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used to treat patients with intestinal adhesion. However, no meta-analysis has been previously conducted to investigate the benefits of TCM therapy in patients with such disorder. This paper aims to summarize the beneficial effects of applying TCM as an adjuvant in patients with intestinal adhesion through conducting a meta-analysis. Until October 2016, seven databases have been retrieved to conduct randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and investigate the effects of applying TCM as an adjuvant treatment in patients with the mentioned disorder. The risk of bias has been assessed according to Cochrane Handbook guidelines. 24 of the 169 potentially relevant trials met the inclusion criteria. However, their methodological qualities were low. The application of TCM as an adjuvant was associated with a significantly lower incidence of intestinal adhesion, as well as higher total effective rate. Compared with the controls as adjuvant treatment, TCM therapy promoted incision healing and reduced the recovery time of borborygmus, anal exhaust time and first defecation time as well as gastrointestinal decompression duration. However, the pooled data for the studies showed there was no difference in blood plasma fibrinogen (FIB). This meta-analysis suggests that TCM therapy appears to cause additional beneficial effects in patients with intestinal adhesion. However, available studies are not adequate to draw a conclusion on the efficacy of TCM due to the methodological flaws of the included trials. Hopefully this work will provide useful experience for further studies; better designed trials are needed to confirm the findings in this study.
Key words: Traditional Chinese medicine, intestinal adhesion, meta-analysis
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