Clin Rehabil. 1997 Aug; 11(3): 192-200.
A one year follow-up study on the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of stroke patients in the subacute stage: a randomized, controlled study.
Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital, Nesoddtangen, Norway.
OBJECTIVE: We recently reported that acupuncture treatment of stroke patients in the subacute stage gave additive therapeutic benefit. The purpose of the present study was to determine, approximately one year after discharge from the rehabilitation hospital, whether the group differences still remained. DESIGN: The patients were randomized into two groups: one acupuncture group and one control group, considering gender and side of hemispheral localization of lesion. With regard to the main parameters the groups were comparable at baseline. SETTING: Initially, 45 stroke patients admitted to Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital were included in the study: median 40 days post stroke. SUBJECTS: Forty-one of the patients were available one year after the treatment period: 21 patients in the acupuncture group and 20 controls. INTERVENTION: All subjects received an individually adapted, multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme. The acupuncture group received additional treatment with classical acupuncture for 30 min three to four times weekly for six weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The patients were evaluated at inclusion, after six weeks and approximately 12 months after discharge from the rehabilitation hospital. The Motor Assessment Scale (MAS) for stroke patients, Sunnaas Index of Activity of Daily Living (ADL) and Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) were used. In addition, the social situations of the patients were recorded at one year follow-up. RESULTS: The results show that the acupuncture group improved significantly more than the controls, both during the treatment period of six weeks, and even more during the following year, both according to MAS, ADL, NHP and the social situation. CONCLUSION: Although the mechanism of the effects is debatable, there seems to be a positive long-term effect of acupuncture given in the subacute stage post stroke.