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Use of acupuncture for pain management in an academic Korean medicine hospital: a retrospective review of electronic medical records
  1. Kun Hyung Kim1,
  2. Yu Ri Kim1,
  3. Seung Hee Noh1,
  4. Kyung Won Kang2,
  5. Jae Kyu Kim3,
  6. Gi Young Yang3,
  7. Byung Ryul Lee3
  1. 1Department of Acupuncture & Moxibustion Medicine, Korean Medicine Hospital, Pusan National University, Yangsan, South Korea
  2. 2Department of Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Meridian Research Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea
  3. 3Division of Clinical Medicine, School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan, South Korea
  1. Correspondence to Professor Byung Ryul Lee, Division of Clinical Medicine, School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 626-870, South Korea; iampnukh{at}


Objective This study aimed to identify the descriptive characteristics of patients with pain conditions who visited an academic medical centre for traditional Korean medicine (TKM).

Methods This work was a retrospective review of the electronic medical records of patients who received at least one session of acupuncture for pain management from March 2010 to February 2012 in the Korean medical hospital of Pusan National University. Demographic characteristics and data on patient conditions, treatment interventions received and costs associated with acupuncture treatments were analysed.

Results We identified a total of 2167 patients, including 2105 outpatients and 237 inpatients. The mean age (SD) of the patients was 52.0 (15.3) years, and approximately two-thirds of the patients were women (64.0%). The average number of acupuncture treatment sessions was 8.0 (6.6 for outpatients and 14.5 for inpatients). The most treated conditions were low back pain (30.5%), neck pain (23.9%) and shoulder pain (17.5%). Interventions included needle acupuncture with manual (52.6%) or electrical (47.4%) stimulation, herbal medicine (44.2%), cupping (21.2%) and moxibustion (3.5%). Over one-third of outpatients (33.5%) received at least six sessions of acupuncture. The median total cost of each outpatient and inpatient care per person was 169 604 and 1 001 707 Korean Won (approximately £98 and £577), respectively.

Conclusions Acupuncture was primarily used for the treatment of low back, neck and shoulder pain with a wide range of related interventions at an academic medical centre for traditional Korean medicine. These data reflect real clinical practice and should inform the design of future prospective clinical research of acupuncture.

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