Efficacy of acupuncture in reducing preoperative anxiety: a meta-analysis

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014:2014:850367. doi: 10.1155/2014/850367. Epub 2014 Sep 2.


Background. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce preoperative anxiety in several previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs). In order to assess the preoperative anxiolytic efficacy of acupuncture therapy, this study conducted a meta-analysis of an array of appropriate studies. Methods. Four electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and CINAHL) were searched up to February 2014. In the meta-analysis data were included from RCT studies in which groups receiving preoperative acupuncture treatment were compared with control groups receiving a placebo for anxiety. Results. Fourteen publications (N = 1,034) were included. Six publications, using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-State (STAI-S), reported that acupuncture interventions led to greater reductions in preoperative anxiety relative to sham acupuncture (mean difference = 5.63, P < .00001, 95% CI [4.14, 7.11]). Further eight publications, employing visual analogue scales (VAS), also indicated significant differences in preoperative anxiety amelioration between acupuncture and sham acupuncture (mean difference = 19.23, P < .00001, 95% CI [16.34, 22.12]). Conclusions. Acupuncture therapy aiming at reducing preoperative anxiety has a statistically significant effect relative to placebo or nontreatment conditions. Well-designed and rigorous studies that employ large sample sizes are necessary to corroborate this finding.

Publication types

  • Review