Objective: Acupuncture, both auricular and somatic, is a widely adopted and well-tolerated treatment for preoperative anxiety. The aim of our study was to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture with pharmacological treatment in reducing preoperative anxiety in patients undergoing cholecystectomy or TEP.
Materials and methods: We randomized 120 patients in a control group (where patients underwent pharmacological treatment with Midazolam) and in an acupuncture group (here patients received somatic acupuncture and auricular acupuncture). Anxiety reduction was measured by intraoperative consumption of Propofol and Fentanyl and preoperatively by the Italian Version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory questionnaire (STAI).
Results: Propofol consumption in the somatic acupuncture and auricular acupuncture acupuncture groups was found to be lower compared to patients that did not receive any treatment. Somatic acupuncture and auricular acupuncture patients required less Propofol than the Midazolam group (p=0.0019 and p=0.0016 respectively) and patients that underwent somatic acupuncture treatment used less Fentanyl than the Midazolam group (p=0.002). No difference was measured when comparing somatic acupuncture to auricular acupuncture (p=0.15) and auricular acupuncture to Midazolam group (p=0.16).
Conclusions: Acupuncture is a safe and well-tolerated procedure that reduces preoperative anxiety. Both somatic and auricular acupuncture are more effective than pharmacological treatment using Midazolam in the intraoperative period.