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Posted by on Aug 17, 2019 in Coronary artery disease | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the effect of acupuncture on angina management. They found that acupuncture reduced the rate of angina attacks. 

Some background

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. Angina is the term used to describe chest pain due to reduced blood flow. Many patients with CAD will have chronic stable angina (CSA). CSA affects patients when their heart needs to work harder. This can lead to angina attacks. Angina attacks can be a sign of a heart attack.  

Patients with CSA may take medication to improve blood flow. There is some evidence that alternative medicine may also improve angina management. In China, traditional medicine is sometimes used in addition to drugs. Acupuncture (ACP) is a popular alternative treatment for a number of conditions. It involves inserting small needles into the skin. This is done in specific areas called acupoints. These are sometimes referred to as disease-affected meridian (DAM) and non-affected meridian (NAM). The DAM acupoints targeted to treat angina are specific for the heart. It is unclear if ACP can improve CSA management.  

Methods & findings

This study included 398 patients with CSA. Patients were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups. Some patients had ACP on the DAM or NAM. Patients in the control groups had sham (fake) ACP or no treatment. There were 12 ACP sessions over 4 weeks. Follow-up assessment was performed up to 16 weeks. Angina symptoms and angina attack rates were assessed. 

The average frequency of angina attacks was 13.31 in the one month period before the study. Angina attack rates were significantly lower in the DAM group compared to the other groups. The rate of angina attacks in the DAM group was reduced by 4.07 compared to the NAM group, by 5.18 compared to the sham group, and by 5.63 compared to untreated patients. 

The bottom line

The authors concluded that acupuncture reduced the rate of angina attacks in patients with CSA.

The fine print

Many patients were also taking medication to manage CSA. This study suggests ACP may be effective in conjunction with medication. 

What’s next?

If you have any concerns regarding CAD please consult with your doctor. 

Published By :

JAMA Internal Medicine

Date :

Jul 29, 2019

Original Title :

Acupuncture as Adjunctive Therapy for Chronic Stable Angina: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

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