Background: Aphasia is one of the most common complications in patients with ischemic stroke. Studies have shown that acupuncture can improve the symptoms of aphasia patients. However, the effect of acupuncture on language function in patients with ischemic stroke is still controversial.
Objective: This study aimed to critically assess the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for aphasia following ischemic stroke.
Methods: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science Core Collection, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wanfang Digital Periodicals, and Chinese Science and Technology Periodicals database were searched. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that met the criteria were included.
Results: Meta-analyses showed that mean difference in change of auditory comprehension score (MD = 7.71, 95% CI: 1.83 to 13.59, P = 0.01), spontaneous speech (MD = 2.77, 95% CI: 0.59 to 4.95, P = 0.01), repetition score (MD = 14.48, 95% CI: 11.04 to 17.91, P < 0.00001) and naming score (MD = 14.60, 95% CI: 11.33 to 17.88, P < 0.00001) measured by WAB scale were statistically significant. Subgroup analyses demonstrated that there were statistically significant mean differences in four items of WAB scale in patients with sub-acute stroke, and no statistically significant differences in patients with acute stroke.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that acupuncture may improve the language function of patients with aphasia following ischemic stroke, especially during the sub-acute phase.