Auricular acupressure as a treatment for anxiety in prehospital transport settings.
Department of Anesthesiology and General Intensive Care, University Hospital of Vienna, Austria.
Auricular acupuncture at the relaxation point has been previously shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety in the preoperative setting. The purpose of this prospective, randomized, blinded study was to determine whether auricular acupressure can reduce stress and anxiety during ambulance transport.
Patients who required ambulance transport secondary to medical conditions were randomized to receive auricular acupressure at the relaxation point (n = 17) or at a sham point (n = 19). A visual analog scale was used to assess state anxiety as well as patient anticipation of hospital medical treatment (estimated waiting period for treatment, anticipated pain during treatment, attitude toward the physicians, and treatment outcomes). These variables were assessed at baseline and on arrival to the hospital.
Patients in the relaxation group reported significantly less anxiety than patients in the sham group on arrival to the hospital (visual analog scale mean +/- SD: 37.6 +/- 20.6 to 12.4 +/- 7.8 mm vs. 42.5 +/- 29.9 to 46.7 +/- 25.9 mm, respectively; P = 0.002). Similarly, patient perception of pain during treatment (mean visual analog scale +/- SD: 32.7 +/- 27.7 to 14.5 +/- 8.1 mm vs. 17.2 +/- 26.1 to 28.8 +/- 21.9 mm, respectively; P = 0.006) and treatment outcomes of their illnesses (mean visual analog scale +/- SD: 46.7 +/- 29.4 to 19.1 +/- 10.4 mm vs. 35.0 +/- 25.7 to 31.5 +/- 20.5 mm, respectively; P = 0.014) were significantly more positive in the relaxation group than in the sham group. No differences were found in the other variables assessed.
It was concluded that auricular acupressure is an effective treatment for anxiety in prehospital emergency settings.