Background: Coronary artery bypass graft and cardiac valve surgeries are frequently performed in medical facilities in the United States, and postoperative nausea (PON) is a prevalent problem in this patient population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a single preoperative acupuncture treatment in the prevention of PON in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft or cardiac valve surgery, or both.
Methods: Ninety participants presenting for coronary artery bypass graft or cardiac valve surgery, or both, were recruited for this study. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either one preoperative acupuncture and standard postoperative care (acupuncture group) or solely standard postoperative care (control group). Acupuncture was performed 0.5 to 3 hours before surgery. The PON incidence and severity on postoperative day (POD) 2 and POD 3 were measured with validated nausea tools.
Results: The acupuncture group had a significantly lower incidence of nausea compared with the control group (POD 2, odds ratio [OR], 0.38; p = 0.05; and POD 3, OR, 0.26; p = 0.01). The acupuncture group also had a significantly lower score of nausea severity than the control group (POD 2, OR, 0.29; p = 0.01; and POD 3, OR, 0.25; p = 0.01). No adverse effects due to acupuncture treatment were reported. Antiemetics, pain medications, and anesthetics administered intraoperatively did not differ between the two groups and did not influence study results.
Conclusions: A single preoperative acupuncture treatment decreased incidence and severity of PON in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft or cardiac valve surgery, or both, and caused no adverse effects.