OBJECTIVE: Acupuncture, both auricular and somatic, is a widely adopted and well-tolerated treatment for preoperative anxiety. The aim of our study was to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture with pharmacological treatment in reducing preoperative anxiety in patients undergoing cholecystectomy or TEP.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We randomized 120 patients in a control group PT (where patients underwent pharmacological treatment with Midazolam) and in an acupuncture group (here patients received somatic acupuncture SA and auricular acupuncture AA). Anxiety reduction was measured by intraoperative consumption of Propofol and Fentanyl and preoperatively by the Italian Version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory questionnaire (STAI).
RESULTS: Propofol consumption in the somatic (SA) and auricular (AA) acupuncture groups was found to be lower compared to patients that did not receive any treatment. SA and AA patients required less Propofol than the PT group (p=0.0019 and p=0.0016 respectively) and patients that underwent SA treatment used less Fentanyl than the PT group (p=0.002). No difference was measured when comparing SA to AA (p=0.15) and AA to PT (p=0.16).
CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture is a safe and well-tolerated procedure that reduces preoperative anxiety. Both somatic and auricular acupuncture are more effective than pharmacological treatment in the intraoperative period. AA is easier to implement than SA.