Analgesic effect of electroacupuncture in postthoracotomy pain: a prospective randomized trial



Analgesic effect of electroacupuncture in postthoracotomy pain: a prospective randomized trial








Research Type




BACKGROUND: The role of electroacupuncture in postthoracotomy pain control is uncertain. We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the role of electroacupuncture in the management of early postthoracotomy wound pain. METHODS: A total of 27 patients with operable non-small cell lung carcinoma who received thoracotomy were recruited and randomized to receive either electroacupuncture or sham acupuncture in addition to routine oral analgesics and patient-controlled intravenous analgesia for postoperative pain control. All patients received acupuncture twice daily with visual analog pain score recorded for the first 7 postoperative days. Specific chest acupoints (LI 4, GB 34, GB 36, and TE 8) were targeted. Patient-controlled analgesia was used for the first 3 postoperative days in all patients, and the cumulative dosage used was recorded. RESULTS: Two patients were excluded after randomization because of complications unrelated to acupuncture. Interventions and data collection were completed for the remaining 25 patients (13 in the electroacupuncture group; 12 in the sham acupuncture group). There was a trend for lower visual analog scale pain scores in the electro-acupuncture group between postoperative days 2 and 6, although this did not reach statistical significance. The cumulative dose of patient-controlled analgesia morphine used on postoperative day 2 was significantly lower in the electroacupuncture group (7.5 +/- 5 mg versus 15.6 +/- 12 mg; p < 0.05). Such delay of onset of pain control may be related to the frequency of electroacupuncture used. CONCLUSIONS: Electroacupuncture may reduce narcotic analgesic usage in the early postoperative period. A prospective randomized controlled trial using different electroacupuncture frequency is warranted to verify this benefit

View on Pubmed

has health condition studied

Anesthesia and Analgesia



has study population number


has duration

1 Week

Item sets