Research, Case Studies & Testimonials

heart surgery

Published On: Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Category: Pain Clinic

'Objectifying acupuncture effects by lung function and numeric rating scale in patients undergoing heart surgery'.

Acupuncture can lead to significant pain reduction and improvement in lung function in patients who have had sternotomy for heart surgery. A three-armed trial carried out in Germany enrolled 100 patients who had undergone coronary bypass surgery. Subjects were randomised to three study groups. Group 1 and Group 2 received a single 20-minute session of standardised verum acupuncture treatment in addition to standard analgesia, while Group 3 received standard analgesia only. Group 1 served as a verum acupuncture control and the points used (Hegu L.I.-4, Sanyinjiao SP-6, Kunlun BL-60, Yintang (M-HN-3), Baihui DU-20, Shuaigu GB-8 and Touwei ST-8) were chosen to provide an ‘inferior’ form of verum acupuncture analgesia. The acupoints used in Group 2 were specifically chosen according to TCM theory to provide relief of pain due to Blood stasis, and were also selected according to the underlying pathological patterns present in the patient group (Neiguan P-6, Liangqiu ST-34, Xuehai SP-10, Neiting ST-44, Taixi KID-3 and Xingjian LIV-2). Both acupuncture treatments resulted in a statistically significant analgesic effect. Group 1 showed a mean percentile pain reduction of 18%, while Group 2 demonstrated a mean PPR of 71%. As well as looking at subjective pain scores, the researchers also measured forced vital capacity (FVC), an objective parameter indicative of analgesia-related functional improvements in rib cage expansion. In Group 1, acupuncture resulted in a statistically insignificant increase in mean FVC of 30 cm3, while in Group 2, post-treatment FVC showed a significant increase of 306 cm3, indicating that acupuncture provided clinically significant analgesia that resulted in improved breathing.


Objectifying acupuncture effects by lung function and numeric rating scale in patients undergoing heart surgery. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:219817.

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