Acupuncture reduces time in intensive care and on mechanical ventilation

Background: Mechanical ventilation (MV) is an essential life support machine, frequently utilized in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Recently, a growing number of clinical trials have investigated the effect of acupuncture treatment on mechanical ventilation outcomes.

Objectives: This study investigated the safety and efficacy of acupuncture treatment for critically ill patients under mechanical ventilation.

Methods: In this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, the efficacy of acupuncture related interventions was compared to routine ICU treatments, and sham/control acupuncture as control interventions applied to ICU patients undergoing mechanical ventilation. The databases of PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science were extensively searched in the month of April 2022.

The primary outcome measurements were defined as total mechanical ventilationtime, ICU length of stay, and mortality. The Cochrane Collaboration risk of bias tool was employed to analyze the severity of bias. The meta-analysis was conducted using Review Manager 5.3 software. The quality of evidence was evaluated according to the GRADE approach.

Results: A total of 10 clinical trials were included in this investigation. When comparing the performance of acupuncture-related interventions to that of the reported control interventions, the results of the meta-analysis revealed a significant reduction in the total number of MV days as well as the duration of ICU length of stay following acupuncture treatment (MD -2.06 [-3.33, -0.79] P = 0.001, I2 = 55 %, MD-1.26 [-2.00, -0.53] P = 0.0008, I2 = 77 %, respectively). A reduction in the total mortality was similarly observed (RR = 0.67 [0.47, 0.94] P = 0.02, I2 = 0 %).

Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis identified a noteworthy reduction in the total mechanical ventilationdays, time spent in the ICU, as well as the total mortality following acupuncture related interventions. However, the small sample size, risk of bias and existing heterogeneity should be taken into consideration. The results of this study are promising and further investigations in this field are warranted.


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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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