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Complement Ther Med. 2010 Dec;18(6):265-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2010.08.001. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Acupuncture as complementary therapy for hypoxic encephalopathy: a case study.

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  • 1School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, No. 91, Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung City 404, Taiwan, ROC.



In acute carbon monoxide intoxication, more serious neuronal damage may induce hypoxic encephalopathy with variable degrees of brain damage, ranging from confusion to deep coma. We report herein on a patient who developed hypoxic encephalopathy and acute respiratory failure after acute carbon monoxide intoxication. Acupuncture therapy has been applied along with prescription medication to restore consciousness.


The patient had a 2-month history of consciousness disturbance and frequent generalised episodic clonic twitching with upward gazing, which was diagnosed as hypoxic encephalopathy.


Acupuncture therapy has been applied to restore consciousness with routine treatment and medication prescription. The patient was treated 29 times by abdominal acupuncture in conjunction with scalp, body and foot acupuncture according to the 12 meridians' points as an assistant therapy. After 2 months of acupuncture treatment, the patient regained consciousness; the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) index increased from 7 to 15, before and after acupuncture therapy.


This case report suggests that there may be a role for complementary treatment with acupuncture in such cases, and it would be more definitive, meaningful and a welcome addition to our database of knowledge if more case studies about the possibility of acupuncture use in these circumstances were done.

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