Electrical stimulation of acupuncture points for analgesia during bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial

Adv Biomed Res. 2014 May 28;3:125. doi: 10.4103/2277-9175.133206. eCollection 2014.


Background: Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy (BMA/BMB) is a painful procedure mostly used in diagnosing and staging of a broad spectrum of hematological diseases. In spite of local anesthesia, the prevalence and intensity of the pain and patient discomfort caused by this procedure are considerable. The effect of acupuncture and electrical stimulation of acupoints (acupuncture points) in the treatment of many medical conditions, including pain, have been approved. The study is designed to evaluate the effect of electrical stimulation of acupoints to decrease the pain during BMA/BMB in adults.

Materials and methods: In a double-blind controlled clinical trial, 50 patients undergoing BMA/BMB were randomly allocated into two groups, to receive either true or placebo electrical stimulation of acupoints LI-4 (large intestine 4, Hegu) and LI-11 (large intestine 11, Quchi), bilaterally. Both groups received infiltrative local anesthesia. The pain level caused by BMA/BMB was measured using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS).

Results: The means of the VAS in the case and control groups were 41.84 ± 20.54 and 69.40 ± 20.06 respectively (P < 0.001). The systolic and diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate rose significantly in both the groups compared to the basal values. The rise was lower in the acupuncture group compared to the placebo group regarding systolic blood pressure and pulse rate (P = 0.018 and P < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusions: The results of this study show that the electrical stimulation of acupoints significantly decreases the pain caused by BMA/BMB and some of the complications of the pain.

Keywords: Acupuncture; bone marrow examination; electrical stimulation; pain.