Research: BARKER and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 137


BARKER and colleagues, Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, have conducted a trial of ear acupressure in patients with broken hips.


Auricular acupressure (ear acupressure) is known to decrease the level of anxiety in patients during ambulance transport. The aim of this study was to determine whether auricular acupressure can decrease not only the level of anxiety but also the level of pain in a group of elder patients with acute hip fracture.


In this randomized, double-blind, sham control trial, 38 patients with acute hip fracture were randomized into two study groups: the true intervention group and the sham control group. Subjects in the true intervention group (n = 18) received bilateral auricular acupressure at three auricular acupressure points for hip pain. Patients in the sham group (n = 20) received bilateral auricular acupressure at sham points. Baseline demographic information, anxiety level, pain level, blood pressure, and heart rate were obtained before the administration of the appropriate acupressure intervention. The level of anxiety, level of pain, hemodynamic profiles, and level of satisfaction were reassessed upon arrival at the hospital.


Patients in the acupressure group had significantly less pain (p = 0.0001), anxiety (p = 0.018), and lower heart rate (p = 0.0001) on arrival at the hospital than did patients in the control group. As a result, the patients in the acupressure group reported higher satisfaction in the care they had received during transport to the hospital.


The authors encourage physicians, health care providers, and emergency rescuers to learn this easy, noninvasive, and inexpensive technique for its effects in decreasing anxiety and pain during emergency hospital transport.


Barker R, Kober A, Hoerauf K, Latzke D, Adel S, Kain ZN, Wang SM. Out-of-hospital auricular acupressure in elder patients with hip fracture: a randomized double-blinded trial. Academic Emergency Medicine 13 (1): 19-23, Jan 2006.      


The results in decreased pain, anxiety and lower heart rate were highly significant (p= 0.0001), hence these results using auricular acupressure deserve serious consideration by health professionals.

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