Objective: To observe the clinical efficacy of acupuncture at Hegu (LI 4) on central facial nerve paralysis after ischemic stroke, and explore dose-effect relationship among different stimulation intensities of acupuncture at Hegu (LI 4) as well as its optimal treatment plan.
Methods: According to different acupuncture stimulation intensities which were based on treatment time and needle insertion direction, fifty patients were randomly divided into a Hegu 1 group, a Hegu 2 group, a Hegu 3 group, a Hegu 4 group and a control group, ten cases in each one. Different stimulation intensities of acupuncture at Hegu (LI 4) combined with facial paralysis acupoints, including Yingxiang (LI 20), Dicang (ST 4), Jiache (ST 6) and Quanliao (SI 18), were applied in Hegu 1 to 4 groups; meanwhile acupuncture at stroke acupoints, including Neiguan (PC 6), Shuigou (GV 26) and Sanyinjiao (SP 6), and medication treatment were adopted. Except acupuncture at Hegu (LI 4), the treatment of the control group was identical as Hegu groups. The treatment duration lasted for 14 days. The House-Brackmann facial never grading systems (H-B), Toronto facial grading system (TFGS), degrees of facial never paralysis (DFNP), facial disability index (FDI) and clinical efficacy were compared among groups.
Results: (1) Compared before the treatment, H-B, TFGS, DFNP and physical function score in FDI were all improved significantly in the Hegu 1 to 4 groups (all P < 0.05), but social function score in FDI was not obviously improved (all P > 0.05); all the scores in the control group were not evidently changed (all P > 0.05). (2) Compared with the control group, differences of H-B before and after treatment in the Hegu 1 to 4 groups, differences of TFGS in the Hegu 2 group and differences of DFNP in the Hegu 1 and Hegu 2 group were significantly improved (all P < 0.05). The differences of any scale among Hegu 1 to 4 groups were not significant (all P > 0.05), in which the most evident change was found in Hegu 2 group. (3) The total effective rate was 90.0% (9/10), 100.0% (10/10), 90.0% (9/10) and 80.0% (8/10) in Hegu 1 to 4 groups, which were significantly higher than 60.0% (6/10) in the control group (all P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Acupuncture at Hegu (LI 4) has affirmative clinical efficacy on central facial nerve paralysis after ischemic stroke, in which oblique insertion along the opposite direction of meridian for 5 s of twirling manipulation has the best clinical effect.