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Effects of Acupuncture on Cardiac Remodeling in Patients with Persistent Atrial Fibrillation: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Patient- and Assessor-Blinded Pilot Trial and Its Implications for Future Research


Background and Objectives
In this study, we attempted to determine the effects of acupuncture on cardiac remodeling and atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence rates in patients with AF after electrical cardioversion (EC).

Materials and Methods
We randomly assigned 44 patients with persistent AF to an acupuncture group or a sham acupuncture group. An electroacupuncture treatment session was administered once weekly for 12 weeks at four acupuncture points (left PC5, PC6, ST36, and ST37).

Among the 44 recruited participants, 16 (treatment group) and 15 (control group) completed the trial. The three-month AF recurrence rate (primary outcome) was not significantly different between the two groups. Following the completion of treatment, patients who had been treated with acupuncture had a significant reduction in left atrial volume index (42.2 ± 13.9 to 36.1 ± 9.7 mL/m2; p = 0.028), whereas no change in atrial size was observed in the sham acupuncture group. No serious adverse events were observed. The AF recurrence rate and cardiac function did not differ significantly between the two groups. At three months, the acupuncture treatment group showed more favorable atrial structural remodeling compared to the sham acupuncture group.

In future research on acupuncture in AF management, it is recommended that the inclusion criteria be amended to include only symptomatic AF, that an appropriate control group is designed, and that the acupuncture treatment frequency is increased to several times per week.

Jung Myung Lee, Seung Min Kathy Lee, Jungtae Leem, Jin-Bae Kim, Jimin Park, Jun Hyeong Park, Suji Lee, Hyung Oh Kim, Hyemoon Chung, Jong Shin Woo, Woo-Shik Kim, Sanghoon Lee, Weon Kim

Medicina (Kaunas). 2021 Dec 27;58(1):41. doi: 10.3390/medicina58010041.

Link: https://www.mdpi.com/1648-9144/58/1/41

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