American clinicians have carried out a nonrandomised pilot study to determine the feasibility of acupuncture for acute postoperative pain control in hospitalised children. 20 patients (aged 7 months to 18 years) who had undergone a variety of surgical interventions received two 10 to 15-minute sessions of acupuncture 24-48 hours apart. The treatment was found to be highly acceptable (of 27 patients approached, four refused, and of 23 patients enrolled, 20 patients completed the study), well-tolerated and without adverse events. In follow-up interviews, 70% of both parents and patients believed acupuncture helped the child’s pain. Eighty-five percent of parents said they would pay for acupuncture if not covered by insurance. In posterior spinal fusion patients, the mean pain scores (0-10) immediately before, 4, and 24 hours after acupuncture were: 3.7, 1.7, and 3.1, respectively after the first acupuncture session and 3.7, 2.2, and 3.1 after the second session. In the other surgical cohort, the mean pain scores immediately before, 4, and 24 hours after the first session of acupuncture were 2.5, 0.3, and 1.6. The authors conclude that that acupuncture may be a potentially useful adjunctive tool for acute paediatric postoperative pain management.
(Using acupuncture for acute pain in hospitalized children. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2009 Feb 27.