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23 May 2020 : Clinical Research  

Effect of Electroacupuncture on Postoperative Gastrointestinal Recovery in Patients Undergoing Thoracoscopic Surgery: A Feasibility Study

Jie Yang1ABE, Libing Huang1AE, Siying Liu1BC, Wenzhong Wu2A, Weiqian Tian1AG, Zhen Zheng3ADE, Zhigang Lv4ADE, Fangbing Ji1AG, Man Zheng1AG*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.920648

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e920648


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to study the feasibility and acceptability of electroacupuncture (EA) for preventing postoperative gastrointestinal complications in patients undergoing thoracoscopic segmentectomy/lobectomy.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Sixty patients who underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) segmentectomy/lobectomy received either EA treatments plus usual care (EA group) or usual care alone (UC group). Patients in the EA group were given 30 minutes of bilateral electroacupuncture on 3 acupoints [Neiguan (PC6), Zusanli (ST36), and Shangjuxu (ST37)] at 3 time points (24 hours before surgery, and 4 hours and 24 hours after surgery). The primary outcomes were recruitment, retention, acceptability of the EA intervention, incidence and severity of abdominal distension (AD), and time to first flatus and defecation. Secondary outcomes included postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), pain intensity, and duration of hospital stay.

RESULTS: We recruited 60 participants and 59 were randomized into 2 groups for this study: 30 in the EA group and 29 in the UC group. In total, 57 participants completed the study. With the exception of one participant in the EA group, all participants completed all three sessions of EA. The one exclusion was a case where a paravertebral block was not used during the surgery. Qualitative findings from the acceptability questionnaire indicated that participants viewed the EA treatment as acceptable. After EA treatment, there was a small but statistically significant improvement in participants’ acceptance of EA for alleviating postoperative gastrointestinal discomfort (P=0.001). The EA group showed improved outcomes compared to the UC group in terms of time to first flatus (20.8±4.6 versus 24.1±6.2 hours, P=0.026) and defecation (53.9±6.0 versus 57.5±7.2 hours, P=0.046). No significant differences appeared regarding AD, rescue medication, or duration of hospitalization. PONV and pain intensity were similar in both groups at the recorded time periods.

CONCLUSIONS: EA is feasible and acceptable to patients undergoing VATS surgery. Our preliminary findings of EA promoting postoperative recovery of gastrointestinal function warrants large randomized controlled trials.

Keywords: Electroacupuncture, Gastrointestinal Motility, Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted, Acupuncture Points, Anesthesia, General, Feasibility Studies, Gastrointestinal tract, Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting, Postoperative Period, Recovery of Function, Thoracoscopy

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750