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Comparing the effects of different acupoint-stimulating therapies in mitigating post-stroke spasticity and motor dysfunction in older stroke survivors: A network meta-analysis of randomized trials.

Maturitas 2024 June 6
Acupoint-stimulating therapies have often been used to manage stroke-related spasticity and motor dysfunction. However, the effects of different acupoint-stimulating therapies in older stroke survivors have been unclear. This systematic review and network meta-analysis compared the effects of different acupoint-stimulating therapies in managing spasticity and motor dysfunction in older stroke survivors. The study followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. We searched 7 databases for studies published up to July 2023. Inclusion criteria were: (1) older adults with strokes; (2) treatments were acupoint-stimulating therapies; (3) a control group did not receive acupoint-stimulating therapy, or the study compared different acupoint-stimulating therapies; and (4) outcomes included spasticity and motor function. Methodological quality was assessed with Risk-of-bias tool for randomized trials version 2, while R and Metainsight were used to conduct the network meta-analysis. We analyzed 27 studies and the results showed that non-invasive electroacupuncture and warm acupuncture were more effective in reducing spasticity than conventional acupuncture (standardized mean difference and 95 % confidence intervals = 1.35/1.19 [0.57; 2.13/0.54; 1.83]) and invasive electroacupuncture (standardized mean difference and 95 % confidence intervals = 0.96/0.80 [0.12; 1.80/0.08; 1.51]). Conventional acupuncture and invasive electroacupuncture were effective in improving motor function (standardized mean difference and 95 % confidence intervals = 0.99/1.41 [0.42; 1.56/0.54; 2.28]). However, there was significant inconsistency for the effects of invasive electroacupuncture between studies. Our findings suggest that for older stroke survivors with spasticity, non-invasive electroacupuncture and warm acupuncture are appropriate, whereas conventional acupuncture is more appropriate for patients aiming for motor recovery. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: This study was registered in the PROSPERO database (CRD42023442202).

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