Ginkgo biloba extract in peripheral arterial diseases. Meta-analysis of controlled clinical studies.


Schneider B.






In the first part the statistical methods of meta-analysis are discussed. Meta-analysis is considered as a statistical tool for quantitatively summarizing the results of clinical trials with comparable aims (treatments) and designs. Meta-analysis can be based on the significance probabilities or effect values. The last procedure is preferable as it gives an estimate (and confidence interval) for the global effect of the treatment of interest, if homogeneity of the effects between the trials can be assumed. Such a homogeneity can be often achieved by a suitable standardization of the effect variables within the trials. In the second part the methods of meta-analysis are applied to controlled clinical trials with Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Included were 5 placebo-controlled clinical trials with similar design and inclusion criteria. In all studies treatment effect was quantified by the increase of walking distance (measured in standardized treadmill exercise). The effect value of EGb 761 treatment was expressed by the standardized mean difference in walking distance increase between EGb 761 and placebo, standardized by the standard deviation. It could be shown that this effect value is homogeneous in all trials. The global effect size was estimated as 0.75. This means that the mean increase in walking distance achieved by EGb 761 is 0.75 times of the standard deviation higher than that achieved by placebo. This value is highly significant different from zero. So the meta-analysis revealed a highly significant therapeutic effect of EGb 761 for the treatment of peripheral arterial disease.