BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have found in a randomized control trial that acupuncture can reduce the frequency of chest pain as adjunctive therapy among patients with chronic stable angina (CSA).
CSA is the main symptom of myocardial ischemia which occurs when blood flow to one's heart is reduced, preventing the heart muscle from receiving enough oxygen. CSA is associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular events and sudden cardiac death.
Researchers from the Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and several other traditional Chinese medicine medical centers conducted a 20-week randomized clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture as adjunctive therapy for patients with CSA.
According to the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a total of 404 CSA patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to four groups: receiving acupuncture on some acupoints on the disease-affected meridian, receiving acupuncture on some acupoints on the non-affected meridians, receiving sham acupuncture or receiving no acupuncture.
In traditional Chinese medicine, meridians are invisible energy pathways or channels that run through the body. One's life energy is thought to flow along the meridians and anything that disrupts the smooth flow of energy is thought to cause illness.
In acupuncture, using needles on acupoints, most of which lie on a meridian, is thought to help correct and rebalance the flow of energy.
In the study, all participants received antianginal treatments recommended by international guidelines. The first three groups received different types of acupuncture three times weekly for four weeks for a total of 12 sessions.
During the study, no patients required special medical interventions following acupuncture.
According to the findings, compared with the other three groups, the frequency of chest pain attacks was significantly reduced in the group of patients who received acupuncture on some acupoints on the disease-affected meridians.
Meanwhile, the severity of chest pain attacks was lowered in the group and they also scored higher in the 6-minute walk distance test and other cardiovascular evaluations.
The researchers said that the result shows acupuncture should be considered as one option for adjunctive treatment in alleviating angina, while the study also provides insight into wearable or portable devices for CSA treatment.