The use of acupuncture anaesthesia for open heart surgery was introduced in China four decades ago. Although the use of it has declined in recent years, there is a renewed interest for it in China. The main reason is the escalating medical costs associated with open heart surgery.
This study designed by scientists from China and USA (Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Shu Guang Hospital and George Washington University, Washington, USA) has shed some light on a combined approach of acupuncture plus local anaesthesia in patients undergoing open heart operation under cardiopulmonary bypass.
Compared with the general anaesthesia patients, the acupuncture and local anaesthesia patients used less narcotic drugs. Additionally, they stayed shorter in the intensive care unit. Surprisingly, they also had less postoperative pulmonary infection. Using acupuncture to aid with open heart surgery reduced cost of the treatment significantly.
The results of the study were published in the current issue of International Journal of Cardiology.