Effect of Complementary Therapies in Patients Following Cardiac Surgery: A Narrative Review

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Cardiovascular diseases are increasing rapidly and have become a major health problem worldwide. The incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular disease are increasing rapidly, predominantly in the developing countries. Patients with cardiovascular disease who do not respond to routine medical treatment will have to follow cardiac surgical procedures. The objective of this study was to apprise the evidence of the effect of various complementary therapies on postoperative outcomes among patients undergoing cardiac surgery. A comprehensive literature search was made on PubMed-Medline, CINAHL, Science Direct, Scopus, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library databases for original research studies published between 2000 and 2015. Original articles that reported the effect of complementary therapies in patients undergoing cardiac surgery were included. Twenty-eight studies were analyzed, and they have produced conflicting results. Most of the studies (n = 25) have documented the effects of complementary therapies on improving postoperative outcomes of patients, whereas other studies (n = 3) found no evidence of improvement. Although methods varied considerably, most of the studies included in this review reported positive results. Therefore, there is some evidence that complementary therapies can lead to positive postoperative outcomes. Evidence of the efficacy of complementary therapies in cardiac surgical patients remains inconclusive. Additional research is needed to provide a strong evidence base for the use of complementary therapies to improve postoperative outcomes and recovery in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

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