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Chinese Medicine Times : Keeping You Informed

Acupuncture for post-stroke hemiplegic patients




Stroke is responsible for increasingly high rates of mortality and disability worldwide. Approximately two million people suffer from stroke for the first time in China each year. The high incidence (50%) of post-stroke disability brings a heavy burden to patients and their caregivers. Acupuncture has been widely used in the communities for post-stroke rehabilitation in China. The objective of this trial is to apply our acupuncture research achievement to treatment and evaluation of post-stroke hemiplegic patients in community.


A multicenter, randomized, controlled trial will be performed in Longhua Hospital and a number of community health service centers in Shanghai. A total of 124 patients (estimated sample size) with post-stroke hemiplegia will be randomly divided into an acupuncture group and a control group. The patients undergoing randomization should be stratified according to National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score at baseline. Within the acupuncture group, different acupuncture protocols are administered to patients with flaccid paralysis or spastic paralysis based on the Ashworth Scale. Patients in the acupuncture group will also be treated with comprehensive rehabilitation therapy. The control group will be treated with comprehensive rehabilitation therapy only. The primary outcome measures are the Simplified Fugl-Meyer Motor Scale, the Modified Barthel Index, and the Burden of Stroke Scale. Secondary outcome measures are the modified Rankin Scale, the modified Ashworth Scale and the Stroke Scale of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Outcome measures will be performed after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment. The patients will be followed up after 6 months.


The results of this study are expected to demonstrate that our standardized acupuncture protocol for treating and evaluating post-stroke hemiplegic patients will improve motor function and lessen the burden of post-stroke patients within the communities. This will provide the evidence to support successful translation of acupuncture therapy for post-stroke hemiplegic patients in community hospital use.

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