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Heart Lung Circ. 2011 May;20(5):305-11. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2011.01.013. Epub 2011 Feb 11.

Use of complementary medicines by cardiac surgery patients; undisclosed and undetected.

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Cardiothoracic Surgical Research Unit, Alfred Hospital, Monash University, Australia.



Some complementary medicines (CMs) confer benefits in people with cardiovascular disease, yet they also pose risks such as drug interactions and haemorrhage.


To determine cardiac surgery patients' perioperative use of CMs, disclosure about their use and interest in hospitals providing access to complementary therapies.


An anonymous survey of 205 elective cardiac surgery inpatients at Cabrini Hospital, Victoria.


Of the 161 respondents (78% response rate), 51% took CMs and 92% took prescription medicines in the two weeks before admission. Of those taking CMs, 42% intended to continue this use in hospital. Medical doctors were the main prescribers and 25% of patients were taking fish oils and 25% multivitamins. Use was not significantly associated with gender, education or income. In hospital, the main reason for non-disclosure about CM use was not being asked. Of those asked about their use, 52% reported being asked by a nurse, 12% a surgeon, 12% a pharmacist and 8% an anaesthetist. Most (85%) of the total sample would consider using complementary therapies if offered by hospitals.


CMs are used by cardiac surgery patients but communication with surgeons and anaesthetists is poor. There is substantial patient interest in hospital-based complementary therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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