Randomized Controlled Trial of Acupuncture to Prevent Emergence Delirium in Children Undergoing Myringotomy Tube Placement

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Minerva Anestesiologica

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BACKGROUND: Myringotomy tube placement is a pediatric procedure frequently performed under inhalational anesthesia without intravenous line placement. Emergence delirium is common following sevoflurane anesthesia, and can lead to patient harm and escalation of nursing care. Our goal was to determine if intraoperative acupuncture, compared to standard of care, reduces emergence delirium in children undergoing myringotomy tube placement.
METHODS: Single center, randomized, controlled trial at a university hospital, including children ages 1-6 years with ASA physical status 1-3 scheduled for myringotomy tube placement. Participants were stratified based on midazolam premedication and randomized to intraoperative acupuncture (AC, N.=49) or standard anesthesia care (SC, N.=50). Acupuncture needles were placed in bilateral Heart 7 (HT7) and ear Shen Men points after anesthesia induction. A blinded observer in the PACU assessed emergence delirium using the Pediatric Anesthesia Emergence Delirium (PAED) scale. Endpoints were highest PAED score in the recovery room and post-discharge agitation and sleep quality.
RESULTS: Patient baseline characteristics were similar between treatment groups. With midazolam premedication, the highest PAED score was 11.6 in patients receiving AC and 12.0 for SC. Without midazolam premedication, the highest PAED was 11.8 in patients receiving AC and 10.7 for SC. The overall PAED score difference between AC and SC groups was 0.33 (95% CI -1.5, 2.2, P=0.723).
CONCLUSIONS: Intraoperative acupuncture at HT7 and ear Shen Men did not reduce PAED scores after myringotomy tube placement. Based on these data, it is therefore unlikely that a larger study of the same design would demonstrate a significant effect of intraoperative acupuncture on emergence delirium after brief sevoflurane anesthesia. However, other acupuncture points or techniques could be considered.


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