Objective: To explore the effects of Astragalus on cardiac function and serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) level in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).
Methods: Forty-five patients of Xin-qi deficiency or Xin-yang deficiency types were assigned to the Chinese medicine (CM) group and the Western medicine (WM) group by a randomizing digital table. Standard treatment for correcting heart failure, including digoxin, diuretics, etc. was administered to both groups, but to the CM group oral medication of Astragalus granule was given additionally at the dosage of 2.25 g twice a day, the treatment for both was continued for two weeks. NYHA cardiac functional grading, serum TNF-alpha level, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and walk distance in 6 min (WD) were measured before and after treatment, and a correlation analysis was carried out.
Results: After therapy, the level of TNF-alpha in the two groups decreased (P < 0.05) and it was lower in the CM group [(54.77 +/- 9.34) microg/L] than in the WM group [(62.10 +/- 9.94) microg/L] (P < 0.05); LVEF in the two groups increased (P < 0.05) and it was higher in the CM group [(64.45 +/- 12.47)%] than that in the WM group [(56.03 +/- 13.33)%] (P < 0.05); both groups' WD increased (P < 0.05) and it was longer in the CM group [(446.97 +/- 68.82) m] than in the WM group [(345.40 +/- 63.62) m] (P < 0.05); the improvement of cardiac functional grading in the CM group was outstriper than the WM group (P < 0.05). The improvement in cardiac function was negatively correlated with TNF-alpha level.
Conclusion: Astragalus can alleviate the calcium overload-induced myocardial damage and improve both systolic and diastolic functions of heart in patients with CHF.