Research Reports - Decreased risk of stroke in patients with traumatic brain injury receiving acupuncture treatment

PLoS One. 2014 Feb 19;9(2)

Shih CC(1), Hsu YT(2), Wang HH(3), Chen TL(4), Tsai CC(1), Lane HL(1), Yeh CC(5), Sung FC(6), Chiu WT(7), Cherng YG(8), Liao CC(9)

BACKGROUND: Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) face increased risk of
stroke. Whether acupuncture can help to protect TBI patients from stroke has not
previously been studied.
METHODS: Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database was used to conduct
a retrospective cohort study of 7409 TBI patients receiving acupuncture treatment
and 29,636 propensity-score-matched TBI patients without acupuncture treatment in
2000-2008 as controls. Both TBI cohorts were followed until the end of 2010 and
adjusted for immortal time to measure the incidence and adjusted hazard ratios
(HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of new-onset stroke in the
multivariable Cox proportional hazard models.
RESULTS: TBI patients with acupuncture treatment (4.9 per 1000 person-years) had
a lower incidence of stroke compared with those without acupuncture treatment
(7.5 per 1000 person-years), with a HR of 0.59 (95% CI = 0.50-0.69) after
adjustment for sociodemographics, coexisting medical conditions and medications.
The association between acupuncture treatment and stroke risk was investigated by
sex and age group (20-44, 45-64, and ≥65 years). The probability curve with
log-rank test showed that TBI patients receiving acupuncture treatment had a
lower probability of stroke than those without acupuncture treatment during the
follow-up period (p<0.0001).
CONCLUSION: Patients with TBI receiving acupuncture treatment show decreased risk
of stroke compared with those without acupuncture treatment. However, this study
was limited by lack of information regarding lifestyles, biochemical profiles,
TBI severity, and acupuncture points used in treatments.

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