Objective: Auricular acupressure (AA) therapy has been widely used in Eastern Asia and Europe to prevent constipation in leukemia patients undergoing chemotherapy. The aim of this systematic review was to review data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of auricular acupressure therapy for preventing constipation in leukemia patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Methods: Databases that were searched from their inception until August 2017 included: MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, as well as four Chinese databases [Chinese BioMedical Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wan-Fang Data, and the Chinese WeiPu Database]. In this systematic review, only RCTs that were related to the effects of auricular acupressure therapy on preventing constipation in leukemia patients undergoing chemotherapy were included. Study selection, data extraction, and validation were performed independently by two reviewers. Quantitative analyses of RCTs were performed using RevMan 5.3 software, and cochrane criteria for risk-of-bias were used to assess the methodological quality of the trials.
Results: A total of 5 RCTs met the inclusion criteria, and most were of low methodological quality. Participants in the AA plus routine care group showed significantly greater improvements in the Bristol Stool Form (BSF) [MD = 0.55, 95% CI (0.39, 0.71), p < 0.01] with low heterogeneity (Chi2 = 5.01, p = 0.29, I2 = 20%). Moreover, when compared with routine care alone, meta-analysis of three RCTs indicated favorable statistically significant effects of AA plus routine care on the Constipation Assessment Scale (CAS) [MD = -1.51, 95% CI (-1.89, -1.14), p < 0.01] with low heterogeneity (Chi2 = 1.63, p = 0.44, I2 = 0%). Furthermore, when compared with routine care alone, meta-analysis of two RCTs demonstrated statistically significant effects of AA plus routine care on the Patient Assessment of Constipation-Quality Of Life (PAC-QOL) [MD = -1.28, 95% CI (-1.44, -1.13), p < 0.01], with low heterogeneity (Chi2 = 0.19, p = 0.67, I2 = 0%).
Conclusion: Taken together, as a potential safety therapy, only weak evidence supported the hypothesis that AA effectively prevented constipation in leukemia patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Keywords: Auricular acupressure therapy; Chemotherapy; Constipation; Leukemia; Meta-analysis; Systematic review.
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