Addition of acupuncture and self-care education in the treatment of patients with severe angina pectoris may be cost beneficial: an open, prospective study

J Altern Complement Med. 1999 Oct;5(5):405-13. doi: 10.1089/acm.1999.5.405.


Objectives: A cost-benefit analysis of acupuncture and self-care education in the treatment of patients with angina pectoris.

Design: An open prospective study on an unselected group of patients. For comparison of risk three control groups were used: (1) published data concerning medical and invasive treatments; (2) an age- and sex matched group obtained from a randomly selected Danish population of 14,000 people; and (3) the 211 patients in this group with angina pectoris symptoms.

Setting: The treatment was carried out on a outpatient basis in a private research clinic.

Subjects: 105 patients with angina pectoris, 73 candidates for invasive treatment, and 32 for whom this was rejected.

Interventions: Acupuncture and self-care education was added to the pharmaceutical treatment.

Outcome measures: Healthcare expenses, a satisfactory medical status defined as New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification 0-I and/or no use of antianginal medication, and risk measured as cardiac death or myocardial infarction.

Results: The estimated cost savings during 5 years were $32,000 (U.S.) per patient, mainly due to a 90% reduction in hospitalization and 70% reduction in needed surgery. Compared to 8% before treatment, 53% of the patients achieved a life without limitations (NYHA 0-I) 1 year after treatment, as did 69% after 5 years. No increased risk for myocardial infarction or cardiac death was observed.

Conclusions: The addition of acupuncture and self-care education was found to be cost beneficial in patients with advanced angina pectoris. The results invite further testing in a randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Angina Pectoris / therapy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index