Identification and evaluation of risk factors associated with acupuncture practice

Mansu,S 2008, Identification and evaluation of risk factors associated with acupuncture practice, Masters by Research, Health Sciences, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Identification and evaluation of risk factors associated with acupuncture practice
Author(s) Mansu,S
Year 2008
Abstract Background: Acupuncture is increasingly used as a form of healthcare in Australia. However, the public concern about its safety and risk factors associated with acupuncture practice have been major obstacles of public acceptance of acupuncture. We have conducted a retrospective survey of adverse events associated with acupuncture practice by registered acupuncture practitioners in Victoria, Australia. Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was developed, based on a systematic review of possible risk factors associated with acupuncture practice, such as, selection of needling instruments, practitioner education background and clinical experience.

This questionnaire was sent to all registered acupuncturists with the Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria, Australia between September and November 2004. Data were collected concerning types of adverse events that they had experienced over a period of 12 months and management strategies for such events as well as their education, clinical training and practice experience in order to identify potential correlations between training background and frequency of adverse events. Results: There were 628 registered acupuncturists with the Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria in September 2004. 239 (38.06%) of them returned the questionnaire which included 128 (53.6%) male and 103 (43.1%) female respondents. The remaining 8% of the respondents did not complete the questionnaire. Approximately 2/3 of the respondents (64.3%) had at least bachelor degree level education (Bachelor degree or above) while almost three quarters (72.8%) of the respondents practiced part-time, although, the term part time was understood differently as it ranged from a small number of hours per week to up to 32 hours per week.

More than half (52.3%) of the respondents had less than 20 patients per week. Nearly all (98.3%) respondents used single use needles. The most common mild adverse events (AE) reported that were considered part of normal acupuncture treatment were tingling sensation (77.4%), bleeding/bruising (75.4%) and pain at site of insertion (73.6%). AE reported that are not associated with normal acupuncture treatment included tiredness (48.1%), tearfulness (47.3%) and nausea/vomiting (46.4%). However, serious adverse events such as pneumothorax (0.4%), seizures (4.6%) or spinal cord injury (0%) were rarely reported. These results were consistent with prospective studies conducted in the UK, Norway and Japan. Conclusion: Although serious adverse events were rare, acupuncture practice is frequently associated with minor adverse events. Further strategies in reducing such events are required to reduce public risks which may contribute to better acceptance of acupuncture treatment.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Health Sciences
Keyword(s) Acupuncture
Adverse events
Risk
Risk management
Safety
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