Objectives: To conduct a meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of scalp acupuncture in patients with stroke and consequent hemiparesis regardless of brain infarction or intracerebral hemorrhage.
Methods: A literature search of randomized controlled trials on scalp acupuncture for stroke was performed in five databases up to May 10, 2021. We investigated three types of outcome: motor function, sequelae of poststroke hemiparesis, and adverse effects. Methodological quality was assessed using the revised Cochrane risk of bias tool version 2.0.
Results: Of 1,063 papers, 30 RCTs involving Fugl-Meyer Assessment were selected, among which 10 and four RCTs were selected for evaluation of courses lasting of 1 and 3 months, respectively. The meta-analysis of 1- and 3-month courses revealed significant differences in the motor function of the scalp acupuncture plus Western standard treatment group vs. Western standard treatment only (medication plus rehabilitation; P < 0.001). A 3-month course tended to result in better outcomes than a 1-month course.
Conclusions: Our meta-analysis results reveal that scalp acupuncture improves motor function in patients with acute to chronic stroke, regardless of brain infarction or intracerebral hemorrhage.