Adverse Events Following Acupuncture in China: A Systematic Review of the Chinese Literature for the Years 1956-2010
Abstract Objectives: The objective of this study was to make non-Chinese readers better informed about the current safety situation of acupuncture in China. Methods: Four (4) major Chinese comprehensive databases were searched: Chinese Journal Full-text Database (1949-2010), China Biomedical Literature Database (1978-2010), Chinese Technology Journal Database (1989-2010), and Wanfang (1998-2010). Case reports of adverse events related to acupuncture therapy were included. Literature reviews, case-control study, translations, duplicate literatures in various databases, and duplicate published articles with duplicate data were excluded. Results: One hundred and sixty-seven (167) articles were included with 1038 cases, among which 35 patients died. The most frequent adverse events were syncope (468 cases), pneumothorax (307 cases), and subarachnoid hemorrhage (64 cases). Conclusions: Acupuncture-related adverse events were mainly caused by mental tension of the patient, improper operation by the doctor, and incompleteness of sterilization. Most of them can be avoided by standardizing teaching and clinical practices. Making the corresponding safety standards can greatly lower the risk of adverse events and protect patient safety to the greatest extent.