Auricular acupuncture combined with lavender oil reduces preoperative anxiety

Introduction: Auricular acupuncture at the “relaxation point” and lavender oil aromatherapy can reduce preoperative anxiety associated with increased mortality and morbidity. Data on the effect of combined auricular acupuncture and lavender oil aromatherapy in patients undergoing cardiovascular interventions with the use of local anesthesia or under conscious sedation are sparse. The authors sought to evaluate the efficacy of auricular acupuncture and lavender oil aromatherapy in reducing preinterventional anxiety in cardiovascular patients. 

Materials and Methods: Data of 80 consecutive patients undergoing diagnostic coronary angiography (n = 56) with or without percutaneous coronary intervention (n = 9) and right heart catheterization (n = 6), transcatheter aortic valve replacement (n = 17) and percutaneous mitral valve repair (MitraClip; n = 2) were analyzed. Patients were prospectively randomized to receive either preinterventional auricular acupuncture and lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) aromatherapy (verum group, n = 39) or combined sham auricular acupuncture and placebo oil aromatherapy (placebo group, n = 41). For the verum group bilateral auricular acupuncture was performed at the “relaxation point.” State anxiety and blood pressure were assessed before and at 30 min after acupuncture and presternal oil application. State anxiety was defined as primary outcome measure and assessed using the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory (STAI) for Adults form Y6. Intervention-specific anxiety was assessed by a 10-point numerical rating scale, and perceived treatment success by a single dichotomous question. Clinical blood pressure was further assessed. 

Results: After the intervention, the verum group had significantly decreased anxiety on the STAI compared with the placebo group (Δ = -4.18; 95% confidence interval = -8.31 to -0.05; p = 0.047). Significantly more patients reported subjective treatment success in the verum group (87.2%) than in the placebo group (65.9%, p = 0.035). No significant differences were observed regarding intervention-specific anxiety and blood pressure between the two groups. No serious adverse events occurred in any group. 

Conclusions: Combined auricular acupuncture and lavender oil aromatherapy can decrease preinterventional anxiety in cardiovascular patients and requires further investigation.


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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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