Metaanalyses of Acustimulations: Effects on Nausea and Vomiting in Postoperative Adult Patients

Shyang Yun Pamela K. Shiao, Linda S. Dune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Using metaanalysis to examine the effects of acustimulations on nausea and vomiting symptoms (NVS) in postoperative adult populations. Methods: Metaanalyses of effects of various acupoints stimulations (AS) (including acupuncture, acupressure, and electrical stimulation) on NVS in postoperative adult populations were performed. Thirty-three quality randomized controlled trials (RCT) published over the past three decades were identified by evaluating the quality of randomization and treatment methods, and results were pooled using a fixed effects model. Results: Twenty-four trials were pooled for nausea, 29 trials for vomiting, and 19 trials for rescue antiemetics, with AS compared with placebo or controls. Two additional trials did not have control groups but compared AS to medication groups. Compared with the controls, AS (all modalities) reduced nausea (relative risk [RR] = 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.54-0.67, P < .0001), vomiting (RR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.45-0.57, P < .0001), and use of rescue antiemetics (RR = 0.63, 95% CI: 0.54-0.74, P < 0001). All AS modalities were effective in reducing NVS. Korean hand acupressure stimulations (two trials) had the best impact on reducing vomiting. There were no significant differences on pooled RRs for nausea (five trials) and vomiting (eight trials) between medication and AS groups, but medication groups had increased use of rescue antiemetics (two trials, RR = 2.27, 95% CI: 1.48-3.49, P = .0002). There was a placebo effect when compared with controls in reducing nausea (four trials, RR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.50-0.90, P = .0069) and vomiting (three trials, RR = 0.39, 95% CI: 0.19-0.80, P = .0106). Conclusions: This metaanalysis demonstrated that AS is just as effective as medications in reducing NVS and that acupressure is just as effective as acupuncture or electrical stimulation in reducing NVS for postoperative adult populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-215
Number of pages14
JournalExplore: The Journal of Science and Healing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Metaanalysis
  • acustimulation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • postoperative adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Analysis
  • Chiropractics
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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