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J Eval Clin Pract. 2008 Feb;14(1):75-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2007.00799.x.

Patient-based evaluations of primary care for cardiovascular diseases: a comparison between conventional and complementary medicine.

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Institute for Evaluative Research in Orthopedic Surgery, MEM Center, University of Bern, Stauffacherstrasse, Bern, Switzerland.



Patients with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular conditions, increasingly rely on complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies.


The Swiss Program for Complementary Medicine Evaluation offers a unique opportunity to analyse cardiovascular patients' satisfaction with CAM and conventional medical (COM) therapies. The treatment choices of doctors certified in conventional as well as complementary therapies also could be studied.


A national observational evaluation on treatment satisfaction of patients consulting COM or CAM doctors. Out of this evaluation project, data related to patients with cardiovascular diseases were specifically analysed for patient satisfaction with treatment and outcome when treated by COM or CAM doctors.


Of 199 included doctors (78 COM, 121 CAM) treating cardiovascular patients, COM doctors treated twice as many cardiovascular patients per doctor than CAM doctors. CAM doctors treated less than 1/3 of their cardiovascular patients solely by CAM, while they treated 42% exclusively by COM therapies. Patients seeing a CAM doctor had a significantly longer consultation and were more likely to be highly satisfied with overall treatment outcome and patient-practitioner communication. Moreover, patients seeing a CAM doctor and being treated solely by a CAM therapy more often report 'complete fulfilment of outcome expectation' and 'high overall satisfaction with treatment', although their symptoms less often disappear totally than those of COM therapy-treated patients.


CAM therapies are not the first treatment choice for cardiovascular diseases. However, even though CAM doctors preferentially apply COM therapies, cardiovascular patients treated by CAM doctors are more likely to be satisfied with the overall treatment outcome, possibly because of the longer and better patient-practitioner interaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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