A study was designed by researchers from China to systematically determine the effects of acupuncture in treating arrhythmia and if it is comparable to current antiarrhythmic drugs (AAD). Their study, which demonstrated the potential of acupuncture as treatment for this condition, was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.
The authors searched several databases to retrieve relevant data for analysis: 13 trials involving 797 patients were identified.
The effectiveness of acupuncture was evaluated based on its reported ability to improve paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), reduce heart rate, and restore normal sinus rhythm in patients.
For PSVT, data for acupuncture treatment were compared with data for conventional drug therapy, while for ventricular premature beat (VPB), data for acupuncture with conventional drug therapy were compared with data for drug therapy alone.
Acupuncture treatment was also compared with control treatment (no acupuncture or any other antiarrythmic drug treatment) for sinus tachycardia (ST).
The researchers did not find any significant difference between the effects of acupuncture and conventional drug treatment for PSVT.
For VPB, acupuncture treatment enhanced the results of conventional drug treatment; patients got better results in terms of response rates compared with drug treatment alone.
For ST, acupuncture proved beneficial for patients compared with the control.
This meta-analysis demonstrated that acupuncture is just as effective in treating PSVT as AAD and that acupuncture with or without AAD can aid in treating VPB and ST.
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Li Y, Barajas-Martinez H, Li B, Gao Y, Zhang Z, Shang H, Xing Y, Hu D. COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS OF ACUPUNCTURE AND ANTIARRHYTHMIC DRUGS FOR THE PREVENTION OF CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIAS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS OF RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS. Fronteirs in Physiology. 2017;8. DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00358