Acupuncture protects the Heart during Surgery

Acupuncture given before surgery, can help to protect the heart during heart valve replacement operations: damage to tissue caused when blood supply is restored after open-heart surgery, contributes to post-operative complications and mortality.

In a randomised, controlled trial, sixty patients were allocated to receive either a 30 minute electroacupuncture treatment on five consecutive days before surgery, or no treatment as a control. Measured at 6,12 and 24 hours after post-operative restoration of the heart’s blood supply, levels in the blood of a biochemical marker for heart muscle damage, were significantly lower in the electroacupuncture group compared to the control group. The former group were also found to require shorter stays in intensive care.

(Cardioprotective Effects of Electroacupuncture Pretreatment on Patients undergoing Heart Valve Replacement Surgery: A Randomised Controlled Trial. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, March 2010.)