Wrist Acupressure for Post-Operative Nausea and Vomiting (WrAP): A Pilot Study

Complement Ther Med. 2015 Jun;23(3):372-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.03.007. Epub 2015 Mar 28.


Post-operative nausea and vomiting are undesirable complications following anaesthesia and surgery. It is thought that acupressure might prevent nausea and vomiting through an alteration in endorphins and serotonin levels. In this two-group, parallel, superiority, randomised control pilot trial we aimed to test pre-defined feasibility outcomes and provide preliminary evidence for the efficacy of PC 6 acupoint stimulation vs. placebo for reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting in cardiac surgery patients. Eighty patients were randomly assigned to either an intervention PC 6 acupoint stimulation via beaded intervention wristbands group (n=38) or placebo sham wristband group (n=42). The main outcome was assessment of pre-defined feasibility criteria with secondary outcomes for nausea, vomiting, rescue anti-emetic therapy, quality of recovery and adverse events. Findings suggest that a large placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial to test the efficacy of PC 6 stimulation on PONV in the post-cardiac surgery population is feasible and justified given the preliminary clinically significant reduction in vomiting in the intervention group in this pilot. The intervention was tolerated well by participants and if wrist acupressure of PC 6 acupoint is proven effective in a large trial it is a simple non-invasive intervention that could easily be incorporated into practice.

Keywords: Acupressure; Cardiac surgery; Postoperative nausea and vomiting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / adverse effects
  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Aged
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / physiopathology
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / therapy*
  • Wrist / physiology*