Electroacupuncture for post-stroke overactive bladder: a multi-centre pilot randomized controlled trial

Haiyong Chen, Changde Wang, Minjie Zhou, Pui Yan Chan, Lo Lo Yam, Wing Lok Lam, Kwok Pui Leung, Sheung Wai Li, Wai Yin Tsang, Bacon Fung-Leung Ng, Eric Tat-Chi Ziea, Wing Fai Yeung, Lixing Lao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Although acupuncture has been shown to be effective at treating overactive bladder (OAB) following stroke, to our knowledge, no randomized controlled trial (RCT) examining the effects of acupuncture on patients with post-stroke OAB has been conducted. The aim of this preliminary study was to explore the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) in the treatment of post-stroke OAB. Methods: This study was a multi-site randomized, assessor-blind, controlled pilot trial of patients with post-stroke OAB. In all, 34 post-stroke subjects (mean age: 71.0 years; 32.4% female) with OAB symptoms were randomly assigned to the treatment group or control group in a 1:1 ratio. The subjects in the treatment group were treated with six sessions of EA for 4 weeks, while the subjects in the control group received usual care. The primary outcome measure was the overactive bladder symptom scale (OABSS). Secondary outcome measures included a three day bladder diary and the stroke-specific quality-of-life scale (SSQoL). 

Results: EA showed a moderate effect size (ES) on the perceived severity of OAB symptoms as measured by the OABSS at week 5 (one week post-treatment, ES 0.57; p = 0.034) and week 8 (three weeks post-treatment, ES 0.60; p = 0.021), although the results did not remain statistically significant after Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. No significant differences in bladder diary parameters or SSQoL score were found. The EA treatment was well tolerated by the post-stroke subjects. 

Conclusion: A six-session EA treatment was feasible and appeared to reduce OAB symptoms in post-stroke patients. Further fully powered trials are warranted to confirm the efficacy of EA for those with post-stroke OAB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalAcupuncture in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • acupuncture
  • overactive bladder, randomized controlled trial
  • stroke
  • traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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