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Acupunct Med. 2012 Jun;30(2):78-84. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2011-010095. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Electroacupuncture reduces the dose of midazolam monitored by the bispectral index in critically ill patients with mechanical ventilation: an exploratory study.

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  • 1Intensive Care Unit, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.



Electroacupuncture, a modern variation on a traditional Chinese treatment, might be useful for sedation and analgesia. This study aims to investigate whether electroacupuncture can modify the dose of midazolam monitored by the bispectral index (BIS) in critically ill patients with mechanical ventilation.


Orotracheally intubated patients undergoing mechanical ventilation were randomly assigned into three groups (groups A, B and C). All patients were given an intravenous infusion of midazolam. Patients in group A received no additional treatment. Patients in group B were given acupuncture without electrical stimulation at acupuncture points GV24 and EX-HN3 (Yintang) for 6 h simultaneously, and patients in group C were given electroacupuncture to the same points as in group B.


Maintaining the BIS between 60 and 80, the hourly mean one dose of midazolam within the first 6 h after sedation in group C was 0.05 (±0.02 mg/kg per hour), which was significantly lower than both group A (0.08 ± 0.03 mg/kg per hour, p<0.001) and group B (0.07 ± 0.01 mg/kg per hour, p<0.021). The doses in groups A and B showed no significant difference. Between-group comparison analysis of hepatic and renal function and severe adverse reactions all showed no significant difference between the three groups.


Electroacupuncture appears to reduce markedly the dose of sedative drug required in critically ill patients with mechanical ventilation monitored by BIS, without any obvious severe adverse action, and larger studies to confirm the effect are justified.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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