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Korean Hand Acupressure for Motion Sickness in Prehospital Trauma Care: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blinded Trial in a Geriatric Population

Section Editor(s): Wedel, Denise J. Section EditorBertalanffy, Petra MD*; Hoerauf, Klaus MD*; Fleischhackl, Roman MD; Strasser, Helmut BS; Wicke, Franziska MD*; Greher, Manfred MD*; Gustorff, Burkhard MD, DEAA*; Kober, Alexander MD*†

doi: 10.1213/01.ANE.0000093252.56986.29
Critical Care and Trauma: Research Report

Patients with trauma or medical illnesses transported to the hospital by ambulance have a frequent incidence of motion sickness. Because the administration of drugs in the ambulance is prohibited by law in Austria, the noninvasive Korean hand acupressure point at K-K9 may be an alternative against nausea and vomiting. We enrolled 100 geriatric patients with minor trauma, randomizing them into a K-K9 group and a sham acupressure group. We recorded visual analog scores (VAS) for nausea and for the patient’s overall satisfaction with the treatment, hemodynamic variables, and peripheral vasoconstriction. In the K-K9 group, a significant (P < 0.01) increase in nausea was recorded in all cases: from VAS of 0 mm to 25 ± 6 mm. A similarly significant (P < 0.01) increase was registered in the sham group: from VAS of 0 mm to 83 ± 8 mm. However, at the time of arrival in the hospital, nausea scores were significantly different between the K-K9 group and the sham group (P < 0.01). Although all patients had been vasoconstricted at the emergency site before treatment, there was a significant difference (P < 0.01) between groups with regard to the number of vasoconstricted patients at the hospital (4 and 46 constricted and dilated, respectively, in the K-K9 group versus 48 and 2 constricted and dilated, respectively, in the sham group). On arrival in the hospital, a significant difference (P < 0.01) in heart rate was noted between the K-K9 group and the sham group (65 ± 6 bpm versus 98 ± 8 bpm). The patients’ overall satisfaction with the provided care was significantly higher (P < 0.01) in the K-K9 group (19 ± 9 mm VAS) than in the sham group (48 ± 12 mm VAS). Neither group experienced a significant change in blood pressure. K-K9 stimulation was an effective and simple treatment for nausea during emergency care and significantly improved patient satisfaction.

IMPLICATIONS: Korean hand acupressure at the K-K9 point was effective in reducing nausea and subjective symptoms of motion sickness in emergency trauma transport of patients at high risk of motion sickness.

*Department of Anaesthesiology and General Intensive Care, University Hospital of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; and

†Vienna Red Cross, Van Swieten and the Research Institute of the Vienna Red Cross, Vienna, Austria

Supported by an unrestricted grant of the Vienna Red Cross to AK.

Accepted for publication August 13, 2003.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Klaus Hoerauf, MD, Department of Anaesthesiology and General Intensive Care, University Hospital of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. Address e-mail to

© 2004 International Anesthesia Research Society