Objective: To observe the effect of acupuncture stimulation of scalp- and body-acupoints on limb function in subacute stroke patients.
Methods: A total of 110 stroke inpatients were randomly and equally divided into acupuncture group and control group. Patients of the acupuncture group were treated by acupuncture stimulation of scalp acupoint Dingnie Qianxiexian (MS 6) and body acupoints Neiguan (PC 6), Jianyu (LI 15), Sanyinjiao (SP 6), etc. once daily for 20 days and routine neurological therapies, including drugs for controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, water-electrolyte balance, anticoagulation, encephaledema reduction, intracranial pressure reduction, anti-inflammation, neurofunction protection, etc. The stroke patients of the control group were treated with the routine neurological therapies only. The Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA), US National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) were used to assess the patients' limb function and nerve functional lesion severity before and after the treatment, and the ratio of mortality/disability and recurrence rate were used to assess the efficacy of acupuncture at the end of 3 and 6 months' follow-up.
Results: After the treatment, the FMA scores were increased significantly and NIHSS scores decreased considerably in both groups (P < 0.01), and the effects of acupuncture group were obviously superior to those of the control group (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences between two groups in the ratios of mortality/disability and recurrence rates at the end of 3 and 6 months' follow-up (P > 0.05).
Conclusion: Scalp acupuncture combined with body acupuncture can evidently improve limb movement function and reduce the nerve function damage in stroke patients.