Data mining technology was adopted to analyze the rules of acupoint selection in treatment of erectile dysfunction with acupuncture and moxibustion. All of the articles for acupuncture and moxibustion in treatment of erectile dysfunction were searched from the databases, i.e. Chinese national knowledge infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang database, VIP, Chinese biomedical literature database (SinoMed) and PubMed, and the clinical trials on erectile dysfunction treated with acupuncture and moxibustion were screened.
The database was set up by using Excel 2019 and input into R 4.0.3, and then, the therapeutic method, use frequency of acupoint, meridian tropism, collection visualization analysis, cluster analysis and association rule analysis were summarized. A total of 240 articles were included, with 516 prescriptions and 145 acupoints involved.
The methods for treatment of erectile dysfunction included acupuncture and moxibustion therapy, acupuncture, acupoint injection, electroacupuncture, etc. The acupoints with high use frequency were Guanyuan (CV 4), Shenshu (BL 23), Sanyinjiao (SP 6), Mingmen (GV 4), Zusanli (ST 36), Zhongji (CV 3), Ciliao (BL 32), Qihai (CV 6), Taixi (KI 3) and Taichong (LR 3). The meridians involved with high frequency were the bladder meridian of foot-taiyang, the conception vessel, the spleen meridian of foot-taiyin, etc. The common acupoint combination was Shangliao (BL 31), Zhongliao (BL 33), Ciliao (BL 32), Xialiao (BL 34) and Sanyinjiao (SP 6), Shenshu (BL 23), Guanyuan (CV 4).
In association rule analysis (confidence ≥ 90%, support ≥ 20%), there were 27 association rules in total. The acupoint combination with the highest support referred to “Shenshu (BL 23), Sanyinjiao (SP 6)→Guanyuan (CV 4)” (support 46.7%) and the acupoint combination with the highest confidence was “Sanyinjiao (SP 6), Qihai (CV 6)→Guanyuan (CV 4)” (confidence 98.0%).
The acupoints could be divided into 5 effective clusters. Acupuncture and moxibustion therapy has a certain of rules of acupoint selection in treatment of erectile dysfunction, which provides the evidences for modern clinical trial and treatment.