Objectives: The therapeutic effect of acupuncture treatment on chronic kidney disease was assessed, and the characteristics of acupoint selection in different chronic kidney disease types were summarised.
Methods: A total of 100 patients with chronic kidney disease were enrolled in this retrospective cohort study, of whom 50 received acupuncture treatment for 12 weeks (acupuncture group) and 50 received routine treatment for 12 weeks (control group). Routine treatment included appropriate rest, low-salt and low-protein diet and correction of the disturbance in water, electrolyte and acid-base balance. Hypertensive patients received antihypertensive treatment, and patients with hyperuricaemia received uric acid lowering treatment.
Acupuncture acupoints were selected in accordance with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory. Baseline characteristics, therapeutic effects and adverse events were assessed, and kidney function indexes, urine albumin creatine ratios (UACRs) and estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFRs) were compared at different time points (before acupuncture treatment, T1; Immediately after acupuncture treatment, T2; After 3 months of follow-up, T3).
Results: The baseline data were slightly different between the groups (p > 0.05), specifically gender, age, duration time, TCM syndrome, chronic kidney disease stage, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). The acupuncture group presented better therapeutic effects than the control group (82.00% vs. 60.00%, p = 0.015). At T2 or T3, the value of UACR in both groups obviously decreased (p < 0.05), whereas the eGFRs markedly increased (p < 0.05). In addition, at T2 or T3, the UACRs were significantly lower in the acupuncture group than in the control group (p < 0.01), whereas an opposite result was obtained for eGFR (p < 0.05). The adverse event rate barely differed between the groups (8.00% vs. 6.00%, p = 0.695).
Conclusions: Acupuncture treatment can effectively treat chronic kidney disease and can improve kidney function. This study provides a theoretical basis for clinical application.