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Acupuncture and related techniques in ambulatory anesthesia

Liodden, Ingrid; Norheim, Arne Johan

Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology: December 2013 - Volume 26 - Issue 6 - p 661–668
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000017
AMBULATORY ANESTHESIA: Edited by J. Lance Lichtor

Purpose of review: Along with a growing awareness of quality in healthcare, has come a focus on postanesthetic morbidities, which still remain challenging in our daily practice of anesthesia. Acupuncture and related techniques (acustimulation) are often suggested to be adequate treatments with low cost and minimal adverse effects. This review focuses on the current evidence and applicability of these techniques for use in ambulatory anesthesia.

Recent findings: Trials exploring the effects of acustimulation may produce ambiguous results and sometimes be difficult to evaluate. Controversies still remain as to the clinical relevance. Recent trials suggest that acustimulation may prevent postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting. There are also promising results for the use of the techniques in reducing preoperative anxiety, postoperative shivering and emergence delirium.

Summary: Pharmacological drug treatment may be only partially effective and produce an adverse event. Research suggests that acustimulation may alleviate postoperative morbidities, although the body of evidence of the effect is equivocal. The treatments are easy to perform, and adverse events and costs are minimal. It may be profitable to implement this beneficial treatment to asmbulatory patients.

The National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Institute of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

Correspondence to Ingrid Liodden, The National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Institute of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway. Tel: +47 924 44 033; e-mail: Ingrid@liodden.no

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.