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Acupuncture in the treatment of hypertension and stroke
  1. Yue Emily Ren
  1. Community Health Research Unit, Dept of Epidemiology & Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M5 Canada, Email: eren{at}mail.health.uottawa.ca

    Summary

    This article identifies and comments on published studies of acupuncture treatment for hypertension and stroke. In all, 27 appropriate papers were analysed: 13 were hypertension papers with 3 being of controlled trials, and 14 were stroke papers with 5 controlled trials. The articles consisted of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled trials, and case series studies. The hypertension papers also involved some cohort studies. In general, sample sizes of these studies were small.

    Acupuncture in these papers was used as a secondary intervention for treating hypertension and as a tertiary intervention for stroke rehabilitation. The RCTs (the top of the hierarchy of evidence) of hypertension showed that acupuncture was not more effective than sham acupuncture or the anti-hypertensive drug, reserpine; however, all the case series suggested that acupuncture was an effective treatment. The RCT evidence for stroke showed that the effectiveness of acupuncture was similar to that of conventional treatment. The conclusion was that from the papers analysed there is insufficient evidence to show that acupuncture produces better results than other treatments for hypertension or stroke.

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