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  • Open Access

P02.176. Acupuncture for symptom management in hemodialysis patients: a prospective, observational pilot study

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BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineThe official journal of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)201212 (Suppl 1) :P232

  • Published:


  • Kidney Disease
  • Renal Transplantation
  • Alternative Medicine
  • Hemodialysis Patient
  • Medical Outcome


Patients undergoing hemodialysis suffer from a variety of complications related to end-stage renal disease. This prospective, observational pilot study aims to determine the feasibility, safety, and possible benefits of acupuncture for symptom management in patients undergoing hemodialysis.


Twenty-four patients undergoing hemodialysis received acupuncture treatment for their symptoms. Manually stimulated, individualized acupuncture treatments were provided twice a week for 6 consecutive weeks on a nondialysis day or on the day of hemodialysis prior to initiating treatment. Symptoms were evaluated using the Measure Your Medical Outcome Profiles 2 Questionnaire, and quality of life was measured by the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-Short Form (KDQOL-SF™) Version 1.3 at baseline, 7 weeks and 11 weeks from baseline. Statistical analysis was conducted on the basis of the intention-to-treat principle.


Twenty-one patients (87%) completed the whole treatment course and follow-up evaluation. Three patients dropped out due to increased fatigue (n=1), pancreatic and renal transplantation (n=1), and infections of the ateriovenous fistula used for hemodialysis access (n=1). Patients experienced a significant improvement of symptoms considered the most bothersome, reporting a decrease of 1.87 and 2.08 points on a 0-6 symptom scale at 7 weeks and 11 weeks, respectively (both p<0.0001). Some subscales of KDQOL-SF(™) showed significant improvement at 7 weeks (effects of kidney disease, burden of kidney disease, role-limitations physical, emotional well-being, and energy/fatigue) and 11 weeks (physical functioning and energy/fatigue). No serious adverse events related to acupuncture occurred.


Acupuncture seems feasible and safe for symptom management in patients undergoing hemodialysis. Future controlled trials are needed to confirm the benefits of acupuncture.

Authors’ Affiliations

Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan, Republic of Korea


© Kim et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.