Effect of electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) acupoints on adrenocortical function in etomidate anesthesia patients

Med Sci Monit. 2014 Mar 12;20:406-12. doi: 10.12659/MSM.890111.


Background: We aimed to investigate the effect of electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) on adrenocortical function in patients with etomidate anesthesia.

Material and methods: We randomly divided 80 patients who underwent elective surgery into 4 groups: group etomidate (ETO), group etomidate + electroacupuncture (ETO+EA), group etomidate + sham acupuncture (ETO+SEA), and group propofol (PRO). The patients in group ETO, ETO+EA, and ETO+SEA were induced with etomidate and sufentanil and maintained with intravenous infusion of etomidate and remifentanil. Group PRO was induced with propofol and sufentanil and maintained with propofol and remifentanil. Group ETO+EA received electro-acupuncture stimulation at Zusanli and Sanyinjiao throughout the operation, while group ETO+SEA received electro-acupuncture stimulation at non-acupoints. We recorded the values of MAP, HR, BIS, CVP, cortisol, ACTH, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and arterial blood gas during the perioperative period.

Results: Cortisol concentrations were significantly higher at all times except T0 in group ETO+EA compared with group ETO. The ACTH concentrations were lower in group ETO+EA than that in group ETO at point T3.

Conclusions: Electroacupuncture at ST 36 and SP 6 can mitigate the adrenal cortical inhibition induced by etomidate and can reduce the secretion of catecholamines during surgery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Adrenal Cortex / drug effects
  • Adrenal Cortex / physiology*
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Anesthesia*
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Demography
  • Electroacupuncture*
  • Etomidate / administration & dosage
  • Etomidate / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propofol / administration & dosage
  • Propofol / pharmacology


  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Propofol
  • Etomidate