Research: USICHENKO and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 125

Abstract

USICHENKO and co-authors, Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, Friedrich Loeffler Str. 23b, 17487 Greifswald, Germany, have studied ear acupuncture for pain relief after hip replacement operations.

Background

Auricular acupuncture is known to be an effective in treatment of various pain conditions, but still there have been no randomized controlled studies of it in the treatment of acute postoperative pain. The aim of this study was to test whether auricular acupuncture of specific points is superior to sham acupuncture for complementary analgesia after total hip arthroplasty

Methodology

In this patient-anaesthesiologist-evaluator-analyst blinded study, patients were randomly allocated to receive true auricular acupuncture (lung, shenmen, thalamus and hip points) or sham procedure (4 non-acupuncture points on the auricular helix). Permanent press acupuncture needles were retained in situ for 3 days after surgery. The time to the first analgesic request, the amount of postoperative analgesic and pain intensity on a 100-mm VAS were used to evaluate postoperative analgesia.

Results

54 patients (29 auricular acupuncture and 25 controls) completed the study. Analgesic requirement during 36 h after surgery in the auricular acupuncture group was lower than in the control group: 37+/-18 vs. 54+/-21 mg; p=0.004. Pain intensity and incidence of analgesia-related side effects were similar in both groups.

Conclusion

Findings from this study demonstrate that auricular acupuncture could be used to reduce postoperative analgesic requirement.

References

Usichenko TI, Dinse M, Hermsen M, Witstruck T, Pavlovic D, Lehmann Ch. Auricular acupuncture for pain relief after total hip arthroplasty – a randomized controlled study. Pain 114 (3): 320-327, Apr 2005.

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