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Research Shows Acupuncture Reverts Heart Arrhythmias To Normal

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Researchers at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) find acupuncture effective for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. A meta-analysis of eight independent investigations showed acupuncture had an 87-100% success rate for converting patients to a “normal sinus rhythm after acupuncture”. Due to these findings the researchers recommend additional studies be done with long-term follow-up exams to confirm the results.

Researchers at Beijing University produced similar findings to the U of M results. Beijing researchers concluded “CA [conventional acupuncture] may be a useful and safe alternative or additive approach to AADs [anti-arrhythmia drugs] for cardiac arrhythmia, especially in VPB [ventricular premature beat] and Af [atrial fibrillation] patients, which mainly based on a pooled estimate and result from 1 study with higher methodological quality.” They also noted that additional studies are required to confirm the results to produce a more “robust conclusion”. The above conclusion is also supported in additional research studies.

Physicians have several tools available for restoring a normal rhythm to the heart for treatment of cardiac arrhythmias including: Synchronized electrical cardioversion, defibrillation, and chemical cardioversion. The aforementioned research indicates acupuncture as another useful tool for restoring a healthy heart rhythm.

For the prevention of abnormal heart rhythms acupuncture has also been found effective. Zhu et al. determined that acupuncture applied to acupoint Neiguan (PC6) prevents atrial fibrillation and exerts an anti-arrhythmia effect. The researchers in this lab experiment proved that acupuncture prevents atrial fibrillation through restoration and remodeling of the right atrial appendage. They add that acupuncture at PC6 “could effectively prevent the onset of arrhythmia and restore the sinus rhythm in AF [atrial fibrillation] rats.”

These researchers concluded that acupuncture reduces the severity of “focal interrupted cardiomyocytes, myolysis, interstitial edema and increased extracellular space.” electrocardiograms, histological examinations, and ultrastructure analyses were used to confirm results. In conclusion Zhu et al. noted “Considering that acupuncture was safe, effective, without any pro-arrhythmic effect compared with the classical pharmacological therapy, this traditional Chinese medicine had a potential to become a more mainstream complementary intervention in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.”

The findings should not be underestimated as a Heart Rhythm Society report notes that over 33 million people have atrial fibrillation worldwide and there are approximately 5 million new cases every year. Another Heart Rhythm Society report notes “Recent small studies suggest that neuromodulation through skin or subcutaneous tissues may also help to control AF using either a transcutaneous approach or acupuncture.”

Given the existing evidence and medical necessity for finding a solution to cardiac arrhythmias additional investigations are needed including those with large sample sizes across diverse populations.


Reference: HealthCMi, Healthcare Medicine Institute