To evaluate the clinical effect of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation over acupoints (acu-TENS) on patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Prospective, single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Settings/Locations: Outpatient center of West China Hospital, Sichuan University.
Fifty patients with stable COPD enrolled in the study.
Patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the acu-TENS group (n=25), who underwent acu-TENS over acupoints of bilateral EX-B-1(Dingchuan), BL-13 (Feishu), BL-23 (Shenshu), ST-36 (Zusanli), and the placebo acu-TENS control group (n=25), who had the same electrode placement but no electrical output. Treatments were performed for 40-minute sessions every 2 days for 4 weeks.
Lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second, percentage predicted (FEV(1)% predicted); forced vital capacity, percentage predicted (FVC% predicted), 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) and oxygen saturation (SpO(2)), COPD assessment test (CAT), and Dyspnea Visual Analogue Scale (DVAS) were assessed before and after the intervention.
Compared to control group, FEV(1)% predicted was improved and CAT score was decreased significantly in the acu-TENS group after treatment (p<0.05). The DVAS score decreased significantly in the acu-TENS group (p=0.039), with a slight but insignificant improve in 6MWD, SpO(2), and FVC% predicted after treatment.
Acu-TENS over acupoints of bilateral EX-B-1 (Dingchuan), BL-13 (Feishu), BL-23 (Shenshu), and ST-36 (Zusanli) improved FEV(1)% predicted and reduced DVAS and CAT scores on patients with stable COPD. This may be a novel treatment strategy in COPD.