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Journal Article


Liu J, Xue X, Wu Y, Yang C, Li N, Li H. Trials 2018; 19(1): e296.


Department of Critical Care Medicine, West-China Hospital of Sichuan University, Guoxuexiang 37, Chengdu, 610041, Sichuan, China.


(Copyright © 2018, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group - BMC)






BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become a leading cause of death among young people worldwide. Survivors may live with a long-term TBI-related disability or even develop a disorder of consciousness resulting in poor life quality and shortened life expectancy. Thus far, very few approaches have been found to be effective in the consciousness recovery of these patients. Acupuncture has long been used in the treatment of neurological disorders in China. However, its efficacy and safety in consciousness recovery remain to be proved.

METHODS: Here, we present a study design and protocol of a randomized, blinded, controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of electro-acupuncture in the consciousness recovery of patients with TBI. A total of 150 patients with initial Glasgow coma scale score of less than 8 points will be recruited in the trial and randomized into acupuncture or control groups. Patients in the control group will receive routine pharmacological treatment alone while patients in the acupuncture group will receive electro-acupuncture treatment for 10 days in addition to routine treatment. The efficacy will be assessed with the changes in Glasgow coma scale score and mismatch negativity of event-related brain potentials before and after treatment. Moreover, Glasgow outcome scale and Barthel index of activities of daily living will be compared between the two groups at 3 months after treatment. The secondary outcome measures are the length of stay in ICU and hospital, expenses in ICU and hospital, as well as the incidence of coma-related complications. The safety of electro-acupuncture will be assessed by monitoring the incidence of adverse events and changes in vital signs during the study.

DISCUSSION: Results from this trial will significantly add to the current body of evidence on the role of electro-acupuncture in the consciousness recovery of patients with severe TBI. In addition, a more convenient and consistent electro-acupuncture method can be set up for clinical practice. If found to be effective and safe, electro-acupuncture will be a valuable complementary option for comatose patients with TBI. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR-INR-17011674. Registered on 16 June 2016.

Language: en


Consciousness; Electro-acupuncture; Mismatch; Negativity; Traumatic brain injury


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