If you are taking anti-arrhythmic medicine such as amiodarone (Cordarone), flecainide (Tambocor), sotalol (Betapace) and propefanone (Rhythmol), but still experience episodes of atrial fibrillation, what can you do?
A new study published at the Journal of Electrical Cardiology 2011 suggested acupuncture might be an effective option to prevent atrial fibrillation.
The study was conducted in Italy on 80 patients who have persistent atrial fibrillation.
After electrical cardioversion, patients were randomized to amiodarone, acupuncture, sham acupuncture and control (no acupuncture or antiarrhythmic therapy) for 10 weeks.
Patients who received acupuncture were punctured on Neiguan (內關穴), Shenmen (神門穴) and Xinshu spots (心俞穴). All patients were followed for a year.
During the 12- month follow-up, cumulative AF recurrences rates in the amiodarone, acupuncture, sham acupuncture and the control group were 27%, 35%, 69% and 54% respectively.
The results indicated acupuncture was as effective as amiodarone (the most potent anti-arrhythmic agent) in preventing AF recurrences in persistent AF patients after electrical cardioversion. The procedure was also safe and well tolerated.
Readers, however, are urged to not do the acupuncture by themselves, but to ask a acupuncturist to perform the procedure.
Source: J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 22 pp. 241-247, March 2011.
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