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J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Mar;13(2):241-6.

Acupuncture as an adjunct for sedation during lithotripsy.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8041, USA.



To determine whether a combination of auricular and body acupuncture is effective as an adjunct for the preprocedural anxiety and pain management in patients undergoing lithotripsy procedures.


Randomized controlled study. SETTING AND LOCATION: Lithotripsy suite located at the Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven CT.


Adult patients who were scheduled to receive elective lithotripsy procedures.


Acupuncture group: Preprocedural auricular acupuncture intervention combined with intraprocedural electroacupuncture stimulation (n = 29); Sham control group: Preprocedural sham auricular acupuncture intervention combined with intraprocedural sham electroacupuncture stimulation (n = 27). OUTCOMES MEASUREMENT: Preprocedural anxiety, intraprocedural alfentanil consumption, visual analogue scale for pain.


Patients in the acupuncture group were less anxious preprocedure than those in the Sham Control Group 32 (29-34) versus 40 (35-45) (p = 0.029). Similarly, patients in the Acupuncture Group used a lesser amount of alfentanil than those in the sham control group (p = 0.040). The adjustable alfentanil consumption as expressed by median rate of alfentanil consumption of 1 (0.6-1.6) microg kg(-1) minute(-1) in the acupuncture group was lower than that of 1.5 (0.9-2.3) microg kg(-1) minute(-1) in the sham control group. Patients in the Acupuncture group also reported lower pain scores on admission to the recovery room (p = 0.014).


A combination of auricular and body acupuncture can be used as an adjunct treatment to decrease preprocedural anxiety and intraprocedural analgesia in patients undergoing lithotripsy.

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