Objective To investigate the acceptability and feasibility of acupuncture treatment as an adjunct to usual care in Chinese women with preeclampsia.
Methods This was a pilot prospective cohort study. Pregnant women with a diagnosis of preeclampsia were offered acupuncture and allocated into groups based on their choice: the acupuncture group (n=11) comprised women electing to receive treatment (up to 10 sessions over 2 weeks). The control group (n=11) was made up of women who declined and was matched for age, gestation at diagnosis, and parity. All women received usual care and underwent measurement of blood pressure (BP) at four time points: at baseline, at the end of the intervention, immediately before delivery, and postpartum (within 24 h).
Results Patients in the acupuncture group had significantly lower BP at time of delivery, and postpartum, than patients in the control group (p<0.05). The individual change in BP between baseline and the end of treatment was significantly greater in the acupuncture group versus the control group for both systolic BP (median (IQR) −8 (−3 to −14) vs +1 (−7 to +9) mm Hg, p=0.007) and diastolic BP (−3 (−1 to −3) vs +2 (−2 to +7) mm Hg, p=0.013). There were no significant differences between the groups in perinatal outcomes and no adverse effects of treatment.
Conclusions Acupuncture plus usual care was associated with a greater reduction in BP than usual care alone. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of acupuncture in the treatment of preeclampsia.
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