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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2014, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (6): 512-519.doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(14)60049-2

• Study Protocol • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Electroacupuncture for the prevention of postoperative gastrointestinal dysfunction in patients undergoing vascular surgery under general anesthesia: Study protocol for a prospective practical randomized controlled trial

Meng-yue Liua, Cheng-wei Wanga, Zhou-peng Wub, Ning Lia   

  1. Department of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan Province, China
    Department of Liver and Vascular Surgery, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan Province, China
  • Received:2014-06-19 Accepted:2014-08-26 Online:2014-11-10 Published:2014-11-15


Postoperative gastrointestinal dysfunction (PGD) is one of the most common complications following major surgeries under general anesthesia (GA). Despite ongoing research and new drug treatments, abdominal distension within 24 h postoperatively occurs in 8%-28% of all surgeries. We aim to analyze the effectiveness of preventing PGD by preoperatively stimulating Neiguan (PC6), Zusanli (ST36) and Shangjuxu (ST37) bilaterally twice a day compared with sham-acupuncture treatment and standard treatment.

Methods and design

This is a single-center, prospective practical randomized controlled trial. All groups will be given standard treatments. Patients undergoing vascular surgery under GA will be included from the Vascular Surgery Unit in West China Hospital of Sichuan University, China, and divided into three groups. The experimental group will receive routine treatments and acupuncture at PC6, ST36 and ST37 bilaterally with electrical stimulation twice a day for 20 min preoperatively. The sham-acupuncture group will receive pseudo-electroacupuncture at sham acupoints of PC6, ST36 and ST37, which are 1 cun away from the real acupoints. The routine-treatment group will not receive electroacupuncture. The outcomes include the incidence of abdominal distention, abdominal circumference, the degree of abdominal distension, the first time of flatus and defecation, and hospitalization duration. 


The results from this study will demonstrate whether preoperative electroacupuncture is an effective method for the prevention of PGD in patients undergoing vascular surgery under GA. This study may also provide a standardized acupuncture treatment for reduction of PGD. 

Trial Registration

This study is registered with the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR-TRC-13003649.

Key words: Electroacupuncture, Gastrointestinal dysfunction, Vascular surgery, Study protocol

Figure 1

Location of Neiguan (PC6) and the sham acupoint of PC6"

Figure 2

Location of Zusanli (ST36) and Shangjuxu (ST37) and their sham acupoints."

Figure 3

The flow chart of study"

Figure 4

The measurement of abdominal circumference"



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