To study the distribution pattern of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) syndromes in fatty liver disease.
A multicenter and large sample survey was carried out by adopting the model of "combining disease with syndrome". A TCM syndrome information database was established by EPidata 3.1 software. The distribution pattern of TCM syndromes in fatty liver was studied by factor analysis and cluster analysis methods with SPSS 13.0 software.
The basic syndromes of fatty liver included insufficiency of liver and kidney, flaring fire due to yin deficiency, liver-qi stagnation and spleen deficiency, spleen deficiency, spleen deficiency and dampness stagnation, mild syndrome of internal accumulation of damp-heat, blood stasis, severe syndrome of internal accumulation of damp-heat, and internal stagnation of phlegm-dampness. Single syndrome and combination of two to four basic syndromes were common in fatty liver disease. The syndrome of spleen deficiency and dampness stagnation was the most frequent one when its pathogenesis was simple, while the syndrome of insufficiency of liver and kidney was most frequent one when the pathogenesis was complicated. A total of 108 patients (13.6%) had no obvious symptoms, 46 patients (5.8%) were classified into the pattern of non-categorization, and the other patients were classified into five syndromes including phlegm accumulating with stagnation due to spleen deficiency (11.5%, 91/793), yin deficiency of liver and kidney (18.5%, 147/793), retention of phlegmatic dampness due to spleen deficiency (32.0%, 254/793), internal accumulation of damp-heat due to spleen deficiency (10.2%, 81/793), and damp obstruction due to liver-qi stagnation and spleen deficiency (8.3%, 66/793).
Multi-element analysis reveals the distribution pattern of TCM syndromes in fatty liver disease, which is worthy of further study. The basic pathogenesis is spleen deficiency, and has a close correlation with the liver and kidney. The main pathogenesis factors are phlegm, dampness, blood stasis, heat and liver-qi stagnation. Yin deficiency of liver and kidney is a typical syndrome in fatty liver disease.