Popular folk medicine remedy known as ‘The Secret’ does not prevent bleeding after invasive heart procedures


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A popular folk medicine blood-stopping remedy, known as “The Secret,” doesn’t stop bleeding after invasive coronary procedures used to diagnose or treat heart problems, finds research published in the open-access journal Open heart.

But this remnant of medical practice in the Middle Ages it may help relieve stress among its believers and may have a placebo-effect therapeutic value, the researchers suggest.

The Secret has been used for several centuries in Switzerland, particularly in the French-speaking part, to stop bleeding during and after a procedure. It consists of a healing ‘formula’ or prayer that aims to mobilize superior forces to help heal the patient.

The “formula”, which can be implemented on-site or remotely by an insider “secret maker”, is a widely practiced and reputed complementary medicine in Switzerland, so much so that it is used in hospitals. But its clinical effectiveness has never been formally evaluated.

In an attempt to close this knowledge gap, the researchers compared bleeding outcomes in 200 people admitted to a tertiary care center for planned invasive coronary procedures.

These were diagnostic coronary angiography (X-ray images of the heart vessels) and/or percutaneous coronary intervention (clearing clogged arteries to restore blood flow) between January and July 2022.

Half of the patients were randomized to standard care, and half were randomized to standard care plus The Secret, which was administered by a randomly selected Secret Maker.

The average age of the patients was 68 years and almost three out of four were men. The majority (76%) of the entire sample believed that The Secret would prevent bleeding, with believers more or less evenly distributed between both groups.

Risk factors for postoperative complications were similar between the two groups, as were criteria for minor and major bleeding.

Bleeding severity was defined according to the Bleeding Academic Research Consortium (BARC) criteria, ranging from 1 (minor) to 5 (major).

Bleeding after a procedure occurred in 55 (27.5%) of the patients. The rates were similar in both groups: 16% in The Secret group vs. 14% (BARC 1) in the standard care group; and 12% vs. 13% (BARC 2). No patient had major bleeding (BARC 3 and above).

The researchers acknowledge that their study was relatively small and conducted at a single hospital. And despite random group assignment, radial artery access for angiography was used more frequently for patients in the standard care cluster. This can reduce the risk of serious vascular complications and major bleeding.

That The Secret didn’t affect bleeding outcomes for better or worse wasn’t exactly a surprise, the researchers say, but a substantial proportion of patients nonetheless request The Secret.

“This apparent discrepancy between the measured effects on bleeding and the patient’s demands touches on an aspect that was not addressed by this study, but that can be understood as stress management and well-being,” they point out.

“Reducing stress in the patient who has used a ‘Secret Maker’ after burns has been considered. As such, ‘The Secret’ could allow for some neuropsychological conditioning and act as a placebo, just like other beliefs or techniques biofeedback,” they said. suggest.

The Secret is a remnant of the Middle Ages, when medicine was practiced by monks or sorcerers, based on one of the miracles recounted in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) as “Jesus healing the bleeding woman,” they explain.

Despite the doctors and Scientific advances“recent enthusiasm for ‘alternative’ medicines and quacks, which is particularly intense in social media since the last COVID-19 pandemic began, or the techno-optimism towards global warmingthey are proof of persistent magical thinking among the general public,” they add.

More information:
Is the folk medicine known as “The Secret” effective in reducing bleeding after percutaneous coronary procedures?: A randomized, double-blind trial. Open heart (2022). DOI: 10.1136/openhrt-2022-002134

Citation: Popular Folk Medicine Remedy Known As ‘The Secret’ Does Not Prevent Bleeding After Invasive Heart Procedures (Dec 20, 2022) Retrieved Dec 20, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12 -popular-folk-medicine -secret-remedy.html

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