Background: This systematic review reports an update evaluation and critically appraise on available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which investigated the effectiveness of acupuncture on dysphagia in stroke rehabilitation. Methods: A literature search was performed to identify all RCTs that investigated the therapeutic effect of acupuncture on dysphagia after stroke from 1966 to 2011. The recruited studies were classified according to the types of participants, types of intervention, outcome measures and results. The corresponding methodological qualities of the recruited studies were also evaluated using Cochrane risk-of-bias criteria and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale. Results: The current review was based on nine RCTs that showed a positive effect of acupuncture and conventional rehabilitation on dysphagia compared to conventional rehabilitation alone. All the studies reported short-term effect of acupuncture on dysphagia and no follow-up data were available. Conclusions: The current review appeared to reveal that acupuncture together with conventional rehabilitation has positive effect on dysphagia after stroke. However, with the concerns in the methodology of the studies in this systematic review, a larger sample, multi-centre, well designed RCTs with homogeneity of outcome measures needs to be carried out before recommending acupuncture as a standard treatment to patients with dysphagia after stroke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine