Acupuncture for stroke

Sham-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial.

Inclusion Criteria
Patients of any age with a recent (<4 weeks) clinically or radiologically confirmed stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) were eligible for inclusion.

Exclusion Criteria
Patients with preexisting disabilities leading to modified Rankin scores of 3 or more, recent history of other serious diseases such as cancer or diseases transmissible by blood, fear of needling, stroke that had occurred under general anesthesia, history of previous acupuncture, or the likelihood of full recovery within 2 weeks.

Patient Involvement:
All patients were randomized to receive 12 sessions of either
real or sham acupuncture during a 2-week period.

Primary Outcome:
The change in Barthel activities of daily living score from the beginning to the end of treatment.

Secondary Outcome:
National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, motoricity index, quality of life (EQ-5D [EuroQoL–5 Dimensional form] and EQ-VAS [Euro-QoL–Visual Analog Scale]), Nottingham Extended ADL score, Ashworth scale for muscle spasticity, timed 10-m walk, 9-hole peg test, swallowing status (“safe” or “unsafe” swallow based on a bedside swallow screening test), and the patient’s blinding regarding treatment.

The improvements in the Barthel scores were 4 points (interquartile range [IQR], 0-8) vs 3 points (IQR, 0-7) in the real and sham acupuncture groups, respectively (P=.38). The secondary outcome measures also showed no significant effect of acupuncture.

Acupuncture for stroke
Source of Information:
Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:2026-2031.

Web Links and Publications:
Acupuncture for subacute stroke rehabilitation: a sham-controlled, subject- and assessor-blind, randomized trial.