Auricular acupressure for insomnia in hemodialysis patients: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Trials. 2018 Mar 7;19(1):171. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-2546-2.


Background: Patients on maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) frequently complain of insomnia. Poor sleep quality impairs their quality of life and adversely affects long-term outcome. Previously we applied auricular acupressure therapy (AAT) for MHD patients with insomnia and yielded favorable results. AAT probably improves sleep quality by stimulating the vagus nerve and inhibiting sympathetic overactivity. However, the efficacy of AAT for insomnia in this population is still lacking. The proposed randomized controlled trial (RCT) will evaluate the efficacy and safety of AAT for improvement of sleep quality in MHD patients with insomnia.

Methods/design: The proposed study is a multi-center, double-blind (participants and assessors), parallel-group RCT. A total of 112 participants with insomnia will be recruited from six hemodialysis centers in Guangzhou, China, and randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio to receive auricular acupressure on either active points (AA group) or control points (points irrelevant to insomnia management, SAA group). The treatment will last for 8 weeks prior to a follow-up period of 12 weeks. Evaluation by blinded assessors at baseline, at 8 weeks (end of treatment) as well as at 4-week, 8-week and 12-week follow-ups (after intervention) will include Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores and average weekly dose of hypnotics. The primary endpoint is clinical response rate (percentage of participants who reach a reduction of PSQI global score ≥ 3 in each group) at 8 weeks from baseline. Secondary endpoints include the changes in PSQI scores over time from baseline, as well as the changes in weekly dose of hypnotics.

Discussion: This paper describes the rationale and design of a double-blind RCT that aims to determine the efficacy and safety of AAT for insomnia of hemodialysis patients. If successful, this project will provide evidence of the efficacy and safety of AAT for insomnia of hemodialysis patients.

Trial registration: , Identifier: NCT03015766 . Registered on 22 December 2016.

Keywords: Auricular acupressure; Hemodialysis; Insomnia; Randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Acupuncture Points
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • China
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Sleep*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult

Associated data