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See 1 citation in J Invasive Cardiol 2019 by Ullah:

J Invasive Cardiol. 2019 Apr;31(4):E69-E72.

Acupuncture-Related Cardiac Complications: A Systematic Review.

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St. Mary Medical Center, 1203 Langhorne-Newtown Road, Suite 320, Langhorne, PA 19047 USA.



The objective of this study is to review acupuncture-related cardiac complications, such as infective endocarditis (IE), cardiac tamponade (CT), pericarditis, and cardiac rupture, as there is no known reported literature to determine the burden of cardiac adverse events due to acupuncture.


Structured computerized databases were searched using the special Medical Subject Heading (MeSH). Manual search using the references of relevant articles was also performed.


A total of 133 articles were initially retrieved, but careful reading resulted in only 30 cases of relevant cardiac adverse events. There were 8 articles of infective complications (mostly IE), while 22 articles of CT have been reported to date. The diagnoses were made with echocardiography and patients were treated with intravenous antibiotics. The source of the infection was mostly localized to acupuncture needle prick sites, such as earlobes and legs. Mortality rate for post-acupuncture CT was not significantly higher than infective cardiac complication (Pearson's Chi-square = 0.559; likelihood ratio = 0.553). However, the weighted percentage of death was about 80% in CT vs only 20% mortality for infective cardiac complications. On the other hand, CT was the most common presentation when the needle pricks were close to the heart, and had a clinical presentation of hypotension and venous distention.


Although the universally reported complications of acupuncture are low, and the procedure itself has been deemed low risk in acupuncture-related literature, these cardiac complications are alarming. To avoid these potentially catastrophic consequences, more education needs to be done for adopting safer techniques.


acupuncture; cardiac infection; cardiac tamponade; infective endocarditis; purulent pericarditis

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