Background: Stimulation of P6 (Neiguan) acupoint can prevent nausea and vomiting in adults. However, there is no antiemetic effect in children undergoing strabismus surgery. The effect of P6 may act only on hollow organs; in contrast, BL-10 (Tianzhu), BL-11 (Dazhu) and GB-34 (Yanglinquan) are more related to the meridians of the eye. Therefore these three more relevant acupoints, BL-10, BL-11 and GB-34 were stimulated to evaluate the antiemetic effect in children undergoing strabismus surgery.
Methods: Sixty-five children, ASA physical status I, between 3 and 14 years of age, were randomly divided into two groups as follows: placebo group (n = 31) and acuplaster group (n = 34). Bilateral acupressure using the Vital Point Needleless Acuplaster (Koa, Japan) was applied to BL-10, BL-11 and GB-34 points the night before surgery. Anesthesia was induced and maintained with halothane and nitrous oxide in oxygen. Postoperative emesis was assessed at early (at PACU) and late (at ward) phases, and was recorded by an investigator blind to the treatment characteristics.
Results: In the early emesis phase, the incidence of vomiting was 35.5% for placebo group, compared with 14.7% for acuplaster group. In the late emesis phase, acuplaster patients had a significantly lower incidence of vomiting (23.5% vs. 58.1% in placebo patients, p < 0.05). The overall postoperative vomiting incidence in the acuplaster patients in a 24 h period which was significantly decreased was 29.4% as opposed 64.5% in the placebo group (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: The results demonstrated that prophylactic use of bilateral noninvasive acuplaster on the BL-10, BL-11, and GB-34 acupoints significantly reduces vomiting after strabismus correction. The mechanism may be dispersal of these three acupoints, thus diminishing the parasympathetic stimulation resulting from surgical traction of eye muscles.