To Study the Efficacy of Acupuncture in Improving Functional Mobility in Acute Stroke – A Randomized, Controlled and Single Blinded Study

  • Yip H
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Background and Purpose: The global burden caused by stroke is coming more and more severe. Good and early recovery can minimize post‐stroke disability and dependency. This study was designed to investigate the efficacy of acupuncture in improving functional mobility in acute stroke. Methods: A randomized controlled trial (RCT) was performed in the acute stroke unit (ASU) and rehabilitation wards in a Hong Kong hospital. 120 acute stroke patients were randomly selected into acupuncture group and control group, each 60 patients. Acupuncture group patients received acupuncture treatment (once a day, 5 days in a week and totally 3 weeks) on top of the conventional treatment in the stroke pathway (from acute to rehabilitation period). Control group patients received the conventional treatment throughout the stroke pathway only. Modified Rivermead Mobility Index (MRMI), Modified Functional Ambulation Category (MFAC) and Modified Barthel Index (MBI) were used to assess the functional outcomes. Experienced physiotherapists and occupational therapists, who were blinded to the patients' allocation, evaluated the outcomes at before and after intervention, also at predischarge. Results: There were statistically significant differences before and after intervention in both acupuncture group and control group but no significant differences were found between the two groups. Clinically, 29% of acupuncture group patients gained the second highest level “indoor walker” of MFAC whilst only 7% in control group at the predischarge status. Moreover, in the postdischarge phone visit, a higher proportion of patients in the acupuncture group were able to return home living and achieve outdoor walk independently at 6 months after discharge compared with those of control group (69% and 43% versus 55% and 28% respectively). Conclusion: Adding acupuncture to conventional treatment may have some benefit on improving mobility in acute stroke patients compared with conventional treatment only, but more study is required.




Yip, H. S. F. (2011). To Study the Efficacy of Acupuncture in Improving Functional Mobility in Acute Stroke – A Randomized, Controlled and Single Blinded Study. Hong Kong Physiotherapy Journal, 29(2), 99.

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