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J Urol. 2007 Jul;178(1):160-4; discussion 164. Epub 2007 May 17.

Auricular acupressure as a treatment for anxiety before extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy in the elderly.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Auricular acupuncture at the relaxation point has been shown to be effective treatment for anxiety. We hypothesized that auricular acupressure may decrease anxiety in elderly individuals who are transported by ambulance before receiving ESWL.


We enrolled 100 patients with renal calculi who were transported to the local hospital by special ambulance, accompanied by 2 paramedics. Paramedic 1 performed data collection, while paramedic 2 performed auricular acupressure in patients randomly assigned to a relaxation group and a sham treated group. Anxiety was measured using a visual analog scale score on a scale of 0 to 100 mm.


Each group consisted of 50 patients with similar demographic characteristics. The relaxation group had significantly decreased anxiety scores upon arrival at the hospital and lower anticipation of pain scores (mean+/-SD 57.6+/-21.8 to 15.4+/-9.8 and 35.7+/-29.7 to 9.5+/-4.1 mm VAS) than the sham treated group (55.5+/-25.9 to 49.8+/-28.9 and 37.7+/-24.1 to 33.8+/-25.2 mm VAS, respectively, 2-way repeated measure ANOVA each p=0.001). Estimated waiting times for treatment did not differ significantly between the 2 groups (5.0+/-2.5 and 5.5+/-2.95, respectively, repeated measures ANOVA p=0.83). The Post-Intervention Anxiety visual analog scale demonstrated the significant superiority of the true treatment group (19.5+/-5.9 and 66.8+/-27.9 mm VAS, respectively, p=0.001).


Elderly patients who received auricular acupressure at specific relaxation points while being transported to the hospital were less anxious, anticipated less pain and were more optimistic about the outcome of treatment that they will receive than the sham treated group. These data prove that this is an effective treatment for anxiety that improves the patient overall perception of ESWL.

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