Effects of Acupuncture Treatment on Daily Life Activities and Quality of Life: A Controlled, Prospective, and Randomized Study of Acute Stroke Patients

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Abstract

Background and Purpose

A number of studies have indicated that acupuncture might improve the functional recovery of stroke patients. These studies vary in inclusion criteria, sample size, and evaluation methods. The present study was designed to investigate whether electroacupuncture treatment favorably affects stroke patients' ability to perform daily life activities, their health-related quality of life, and their use of health care and social services.

Methods

One hundred four consecutive patients >40 years of age admitted to hospital because of an acute stroke were randomized to 3 groups: deep, superficial, and no acupuncture treatment. The acupuncture treatment given by 4 physiotherapists started 4 to 10 days after randomization and was given twice a week for 10 weeks. All patients underwent conventional stroke rehabilitation as well. Two occupational therapists, blinded regarding the patients' allocation, evaluated the treatment effects. The assessments were performed 4 times during the first year after randomization by means of interviews and observations.

Results

There were no differences between the groups with reference to changes in the neurological score and the Barthel and Sunnaas activities of daily living index scores after 3 and 12 months. Regarding the Nottingham Health Profile, the no acupuncture group had somewhat fewer mobility problems. No differences in health care and social services were found between the groups.

Conclusions

The present study does not give support to the previous studies, which indicates that acupuncture treatment may have a beneficial effect on acute stroke patients' ability to perform daily life activities, their health-related quality of life, and their use of health care and social services. (Stroke. 1998;29:2100-2108.)

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