Objectives: To explore the relationships between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) syndromes and disease severity and prognoses after ischemic stroke, such as neurologic deficits and decline in activities of daily living (ADLs).
Methods: The study included 211 patients who met the inclusion criteria of acute ischemic stroke based on clinical manifestations, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging findings, and onset of ischemic stroke within 72 hours with clear consciousness. To assess neurologic function and ADLs in patients with different TCM syndromes, the TCM Syndrome Differentiation Diagnostic Criteria for Apoplexy scale (containing assessments of wind, phlegm, blood stasis, fire-heat, qi deficiency, and yin deficiency with yang hyperactivity syndromes) was used within 72 hours of stroke onset, and Western medicine-based National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and Barthel Index (BI) assessments were performed at both admission and discharge.
Results: The most frequent TCM syndromes associated with acute ischemic stroke were wind syndrome, phlegm syndrome, and blood stasis syndrome. Improvement according to the BI at discharge and days of admission were significantly different between patients with and those without fire-heat syndrome. Patients with qi deficiency syndrome had longer hospital stays and worse NIHSS and BI assessments at discharge than patients without qi deficiency syndrome. All the reported differences reached statistical significance.
Conclusions: These results provide evidence that fire-heat syndrome and qi deficiency syndrome are essential elements that can predict short-term prognosis of acute ischemic stroke.