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Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(3):409-15.

Acupuncture for diagnostic fiberoptic bronchoscopy: a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

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Servizio di Anestesia e Rianimazione, Ospedale San Raffaele, Milano, Italy.


Patients usually fear fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FBS) and they report a low level of satisfaction after this examination. We evaluated the efficacy of acupuncture in decreasing patient anxiety before diagnostic FBS and in improving tolerance to the examination. In a prospective double-blind study, we enrolled 48 patients scheduled to undergo diagnostic FBS. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Group A (16 patients): standard FBS, with airway topic anesthesia; Group B (16 patients): standard FBS, with airway topic anesthesia and acupuncture treatment; Group C (16 patients): standard FBS, with airway topic anesthesia and sham acupuncture. EKG, non-invasive arterial pressure, and pulse oximetry were monitored on a routine basis. We evaluated patient anxiety before and after acupuncture and, at the end of FBS, the discomfort suffered during the examination by a 100-mm Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Patient satisfaction in Group A was 50% worse than in Group B (p = 0.04). We observed a strong, even if not statistically significant, tendency toward a lower pre-FBS anxiety in Group B. Patients in group C had values very close to those recorded in group A. We observed no adverse event and no differences in cardio-respiratory parameters in these three groups; in particular, we did not observe a respiratory depression in Group B. Acupuncture seems an effective resource for a Thoracic Endoscopic Room to improve patient tolerance to FBS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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