Acupuncture Efficacy on Ischemic Stroke Recovery
Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial in China
Background and Purpose—Acupuncture is a frequently used complementary treatment for ischemic stroke in China but the evidence available from previous randomized trials is inconclusive. The objective of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in a more robustly designed larger scale trial.
Methods—This is a multicenter, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial. Eight hundred sixty-two hospitalized patients with limb paralysis between 3 to 10 days after ischemic stroke onset were allocated acupuncture plus standard care or standard care alone. The acupuncture was applied 5 times per week for 3 to 4 weeks. The primary outcomes were defined as follows: (1) death/disability according to Barthel index and (2) death/institutional care at 6 months.
Results—There was a tendency of fewer patients being dead or dependent in acupuncture group (80/385, 20.7%) than in control group (102/396, 25.8%) at 6 months (odds ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.54–1.05). The benefit was noted in subgroup receiving ≥10 sessions of acupuncture (odds ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.47–0.98). There was no statistical difference in death or institutional care between the 2 groups (odds ratio, 1.06; 95% confidence interval, 0.63–1.79). Severe adverse events occurred in 7.6% and 8.3% of patients in the 2 groups, respectively.
Conclusions—Acupuncture seemed to be safe in the subacute phase of ischemic stroke. If the potential benefits observed are confirmed in future larger study, the health gain from wider use of the treatment could be substantial.
Clinical Trial Registration—URL: http://www.chictr.org/en/. Unique identifier: ChiCTR-TRC-11001353.
- Received October 4, 2014.
- Revision received March 18, 2015.
- Accepted March 18, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.