Acceptability, adaptation, and clinical outcomes of acupuncture provided in the emergency department: a retrospective pilot study
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate acceptability and clinical outcomes of acupuncture on patient-reported pain and anxiety in an emergency department (ED). DESIGN: Observational, retrospective pilot study. SETTING: Abbott Northwestern Hospital ED, Minneapolis, MN. METHODS: Retrospective data was used to identify patients receiving acupuncture in addition to standard medical care in the ED between 11/1/13 and 12/31/14. Feasibility was measured by quantifying the utilization of acupuncture in a novel setting and performing limited tests of its efficacy. Patient-reported pain and anxiety scores were collected by the acupuncturist using an 11-point (0-10) numeric rating scale before (pre) and immediately after (post) acupuncture. Efficacy outcomes were change in pain and anxiety scores. RESULTS: During the study period, 436 patients were referred for acupuncture, 279 of whom were approached by the acupuncturist during their ED visit. Consent for acupuncture was obtained from 89% (248/279). A total of 182 patients, who had a pre-pain score >0 and non-missing anxiety scores, were included in analyses. Of the 52% (94/182) who did not have analgesics before or during the acupuncture session, the average decrease of 2.37 points (95% CI: 1.92, 2.83) was not different (p > 0.05) than the mean decrease of 2.68 points for those receiving analgesics (95% CI 2.21, 3.15). The average pre-anxiety score was 4.73 points (SD = 3.43) and the mean decrease was 2.27 points (95% CI: 1.89, 2.66). CONCLUSIONS: Results from this observational trial indicate that acupuncture was acceptable and effective for pain and anxiety reduction, in conjunction with standard medical care. These results will inform future randomized trials.
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