The timing of acupuncture stimulation does not influence anesthetic requirement

Grigory Chernyak, Papiya Sengupta, Rainer Lenhardt, Edwin Liem, Anthony G. Doufas, Daniel I. Sessler, Ozan Akça

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies suggest that acupuncture is more effective when induced before the induction of general anesthesia than afterwards. We tested the hypothesis that electro-acupuncture initiated 30 min before the induction reduces anesthetic requirement more than acupuncture initiated after the induction. Seven volunteers were each anesthetized with desflurane on 3 study days. Needles were inserted percutaneously at four acupuncture points thought to produce analgesia in the upper abdominal area and provide generalized sedative and analgesic effects: Zusanli (St36), Sanyinjiao (Sp6), Liangqiu (Sp34), and Hegu (LI4). Needles were stimulated at 2 Hz and 10 Hz, with frequencies alternating at 2-s intervals. On Preinduction day, electro-acupuncture was started 30 min before the induction of anesthesia and maintained throughout the study. On At-induction day, needles were positioned before the induction of anesthesia, but electro-acupuncture stimulation was not initiated until after the induction. On Control day, electrodes were positioned near the acupoints, but needles were not inserted. Noxious electrical stimulation was administered via 25-gauge needles on the upper abdomen (70 mA; 100 Hz; 10s). The desflurane concentration was increased 0.5% when movement occurred and decreased 0.5% when it did not. These up-and-down sequences continued until volunteers crossed from movement to no movement four times. The P50 of logistic regression identified desflurane requirement. Desflurane requirement was similar on the Control (mean ± SD; 5.2% ± 0.6%), Preinduction (5.0% ± 0.8%), and At-induction (4.7% ± 0.3%; P = 0.125) days. This type of acupuncture is thus unlikely to facilitate general anesthesia or decrease the requirement for anesthetic drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-392
Number of pages6
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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