To systematically evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture and/or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation over acupoints (acu-TENS) in the treatment of the stable COPD were searched in PubMed, Embase, The Cochrane Library, WanFang Data, VIP, CNKI and CBM databases from the respective inception to January 2019. Literature screening and data extraction were independently performed by two researchers and methodological quality was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Tool. Outcome measures included treatment efficiency, quality of life, lung function, activity tolerance and adverse events were evaluated.
Eleven RCTs involving 709 patients were included. The results showed that the treatments of COPD, acupuncture and/or acu-TENS could improve the treatment efficiency compared with the control group [RR = 1.11, 95%CI (1.02 to 1.21), P = 0.02], improve the quality of life [MD = −3.66, 95%CI (−5.56 to −1.76), P = 0.0002], increased percentage of forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1%) [MD = 8.75, 95%CI (0.98 to 16.51), P = 0.03], increased predicted forced vital capacity (FVC%) value [MD = 7.93, 95%CI (1.83 to 14.03), P = 0.01], increased FVC(L) [MD = 0.16, 95%CI (0.01 to 0.30), P = 0.04] and decreased Borg score [MD = -3.00, 95%CI (-3.99 to −2.01), P = 0.00001]. Only 3 cases reported mild contusion and pain.
Our systematic review shows that the combination of acupuncture with medications and/or rehabilitation exercise may increase efficacy in stable COPD treatment by alleviating the clinical symptoms and improving the quality of life.
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