Effects of preconditioning of electro-acupuncture on postoperative cognitive dysfunction in elderly: A prospective, randomized, controlled trial

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Abstract

Electro-acupuncture is a burgeoning treatment using the needle inserting into the body acupoints and the low-frequency pulse current being electrified by an electric acupuncture machine. This study was designed to evaluate the effects of preconditioning of electro-acupuncture on postoperative cognitive dysfunction in elderly.

Ninety patients scheduled spine surgery were randomly assigned into 2 groups using a random number table: control group (group C) and electro-acupuncture group (group EA). In group EA, electro-acupuncture was applied on Baihui, Dazhui, and Zusanli acupoints 30 minutes before anesthesia. At 0 minute before treatment of electro-acupuncture, 1 hour after skin incision and surgery completed (T1–3), blood samples were taken for detection of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, and S100β by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The total dose of remifentanil and propofol during surgery were recorded. Mini-Mental State Examination was applied to evaluate the cognitive function of patients at 1 day before surgery and 7th and 30th day after surgery.

The results showed that compared with group C, score of MMSE increased after surgery, the serum concentration of IL-6, IL-10, and S100β decreased at 1 hour after skin incision, and surgery completed in group EA. Moreover, the total dose of remifentanil and propofol reduced during surgery in group EA.

The present study suggests that preconditioning of electro-acupuncture could improve the postoperative cognitive function, and the reduction of inflammatory reaction and brain injury may be involved in the mechanism.

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