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Medical News & Perspectives
March 3, 2010

Cardiac Patients’ Herbal Supplement Use Deserves More Careful Investigation

JAMA. 2010;303(9):824. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.219

Consider this clinical scenario: an elderly patient with strong risk factors for heart disease takes a daily aspirin as a preventive measure. Lately, she has become a little forgetful and begins taking Ginkgo biloba because she read in a magazine that the herbal supplement can improve cognition. Several months later she falls on a loose piece of carpeting. Fortunately, she does not fracture her hip. But a protruding carpet nail leaves her with a deep gash in her arm. On the way to the emergency department, paramedics have difficulty controlling her bleeding, and she is at risk for substantial blood loss.

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