University of Illinois at Chicago
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An Adjunct Intervention for Management of Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (AECOPD)

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-12-03, 00:00 authored by Shirley P.C. Ngai, Alice Y.M. Jones, Christina W.Y. Hui-Chan, Fanny W.S. Ko, David S.C. Hui
Objectives: Application of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation over acupuncture points (Acu-TENS) is a noninvasive intervention that has recently been shown to alleviate dyspnea in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This case report aims to explore the role of Acu-TENS in patients diagnosed with COPD during the acute exacerbation. Study design: The study design was a case report. Setting: The study was conducted in an inpatient setting. Subject: The subject was a 74-year-old man admitted to the hospital due to acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD). Intervention: Treatment consisted of application of TENS on EX-B1 (Dingchuan) for 45 minutes. Outcome measures: Oxygen saturation, heart rate, and dyspnea score were measured before, immediately after, and 45 minutes after Acu-TENS intervention. Other than the physiologic measures, 10mL of venous blood was taken from the cubital vein for assessment of beta-endorphin level, white blood cell count, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and C-reactive protein (CRP) level before and immediately postintervention. Results: Postintervention, improved oxygen saturation, and reduction in heart rate and dyspneic sensation were observed accompanied by a raised blood beta-endorphin level but the level of white blood cell count, TNF-alpha, and CRP remain unchanged. Conclusions: Application of 45 minutes Acu-TENS appeared to alleviate symptoms in a patient with AECOPD. The role of adjunctive Acu-TENS therapy during acute exacerbation warrants further investigation.


Publisher Statement

This is a copy of an article published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine © 2013 Copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.;Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is available online at:


Mary Ann Liebert


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