This single-blind, randomised, controlled trial was undertaken to assess the efficacy of acupuncture (ACP) at the PC.6 (Neiguan) point in the management of established postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) in patients receiving parenteral morphine via a Patient-Controlled Analgesia System (PCAS). Eighty patients were recruited on the first postoperative day and 30 were treated with ACP after developing PONV lasting more than 10min. Patients were randomly allocated to receive ACP bilaterally at either PC.6 or at a dummy point near the elbow, with manual stimulation for a total of 4min. Only patients with no knowledge of ACP antiemesis were studied, and each patient was thus unaware of the group to which they were allocated. Patients treated with PC.6 ACP had a greater mean improvement in their visual analogue score for nausea (p<0.05). All patients in the PC.6 group improved their score by 20% or more, while only one third in the control group did so (p<0.001). In the PC.6 group 53% of patients did not require any further antiemetic while receiving PCAS morphine. All patients in the control group required further antiemetic treatment (p<0.001). No adverse effects were recorded.
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