Article Text

other Versions

PDF
Acupuncture and standard emergency department care for pain and/or nausea and its impact on emergency care delivery: a feasibility study
  1. Anthony L Zhang1,
  2. Shefton J Parker1,
  3. De Villiers Smit2,
  4. David McD Taylor3,
  5. Charlie C L Xue1
  1. 1School of Health Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Emergency and Trauma Centre, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Department of Emergency, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Charlie Xue, School of Health Sciences, RMIT University, 3083, Melbourne, VIC Australia; charlie.xue{at}rmit.edu.au

Abstract

Objective To evaluate the feasibility of delivering acupuncture in an emergency department (ED) to patients presenting with pain and/or nausea.

Methods A feasibility study (with historical controls) undertaken at the Northern Hospital ED in Melbourne, Australia, involving people presenting to ED triage with pain (VAS 0–10) and/or nausea (Morrow Index 1–6) between January and August 2010 (n=400). The acupuncture group comprised 200 patients who received usual medical care and acupuncture; the usual care group comprised 200 patients with retrospective data closely matched from ED electronic health records.

Results Refusal rate was 31%, with ‘symptoms under control owing to medical treatment before acupuncture’ the most prevalent reason for refusal (n=36); 52.5% of participants responded ‘definitely yes’ for their willingness to repeat acupuncture, and a further 31.8% responded ‘probably yes’. Over half (57%) reported a satisfaction score of 10 for acupuncture treatment. Musculoskeletal conditions were the most common conditions treated n=117 (58.5%), followed by abdominal or flank pain n=49 (24.5%). Adverse events were rare (2%) and mild. Pain and nausea scores reduced from a mean±SD of 7.01±2.02 before acupuncture to 4.72±2.62 after acupuncture and from 2.6±2.19 to 1.42±1.86, respectively.

Conclusions Acupuncture in the ED appears safe and acceptable for patients with pain and/or nausea. Results suggest combined care may provide effective pain and nausea relief in ED patients. Further high-quality, sufficiently powered randomised studies evaluating the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of the add-on effect of acupuncture are recommended.

  • ACUPUNCTURE
  • ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY MEDICINE
  • PAIN MANAGEMENT
  • PAIN RESEARCH
  • COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.