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Implementation of acupuncture and acupressure under surgical procedures in children: a pilot study
  1. Arne Johan Norheim1,
  2. Ingrid Liodden2,
  3. Michael Howley2
  1. 1NAFKAM, University of Tromsø, Forskningsparken, Tromsø, Norway
  2. 2Department of Anaesthesiology, Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Arne Johan Norheim, NAFKAM, University of Tromsø, Forskningsparken, Tromsø N-9037, Norway; arne.johan.norheim{at}


Objective To test the feasibility of research on acupuncture and acupressure for children undergoing tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy.

Methods During January and February 2008, 20 patients from the ordinary waiting list at Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital in Oslo were randomised to either acupuncture while under anaesthesia or standard care as control. The authors gave acupuncture at Pericardium 6 (P6) at a depth of approximately 0.7 cm on both forearms. The needles were removed when the patient was transferred to the recovery unit and replaced with acupressure wristbands. The outcome measure in the pilot study was to explore if acupuncture and acupressure could be implemented without extending the anaesthesia time and surgical time. This pilot study also tested the feasibility of the research protocol for future investigation in the field, with postoperative nausea, vomiting and retching as the primary end points for effect.

Results The study showed no delay in the surgical procedure and no additional anaesthesia time attributable to the introduction of acupuncture. The protocol was found to be feasible with regard to performance of the main study. Vomiting occurred in five patients in the treatment group and 10 patients in the control group. The total numbers of vomiting events were 13 in the treatment group and 19 in the control group.

Conclusion The results encouraged performance of the main study according to the research protocol.

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  • Funding The study was financed by Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, Oslo and the National Research Centre in Complementary and Alternative Diakonale medicine at the University of Tromsø (NAFKAM).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Regional Ethics Committee North (REK-N), (REC reference: P REK NORD 125/2007).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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