Postoperative nausea and vomiting are still common problems after general anesthesia, especially in ambulatory surgery.Drug therapy is often complicated with central nervous system symptoms. We studied a nonpharmacological method of therapy-acupressure-at the Pericardium 6 (P.6) (Nei-Guan) meridian point. Two hundred consecutive healthy patients undergoing a variety of short surgical procedures were included in a randomized, double-blind study: 108 patients were in the acupressure group (Group 1) and 92 patients were in the control group (Group 2). Spherical beads of acupressure bands were placed at the P.6 points in the anterior surface of both forearms in Group 1 patients, while in Group 2 they were placed inappropriately on the posterior surface. The acupressure bands were placed before induction of anesthesia and were removed 6 h postoperatively. They were covered with a soft cotton wrapping to conceal them from the blinded observer who evaluated the patients for presence of nausea and vomiting and checked the order sheet for any antiemetics prescribed. In both groups, the age, gender, height, weight, and type and duration of surgical procedures were all comparable without significant statistical difference. In Group 1, only 25 of 108 patients (23%) had nausea and vomiting as compared to Group 2, in which 38 of 92 patients (41%) had nausea and vomiting (P = 0.0058). We concluded that acupressure at the P.6 (Nei-Guan) point is an effective prophylaxis for postsurgical nausea and vomiting and therefore a good alternative to conventional antiemetic treatment.
(Anesth Analg 1997;84:821-5)