To assess the effectiveness and safety of electroacupuncture (EA) combined with rehabilitation therapy (RT) and/or conventional drugs (CD) for improving poststroke motor dysfunction (PSMD).
The China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chinese Biological Medicine Database, Chinese Scientific Journal Database, Cochrane Library, Medline and Embase were electronically searched from inception to December 2016. The methodological quality of the included trials was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias assessment tool. Statistical analyses were performed by RevMan V.5.3 and Stata SE V.11.0.
Nineteen trials with 1434 participants were included for qualitative synthesis and meta-analysis. The methodological quality of the included trials was generally poor. The meta-analysis indicated that the EA group might be benefiting more than the non-EA group in terms of the changes in the Fugl-Meyer Assessment Scale (FMA) (weighted mean difference (WMD): 10.79, 95% CI 6.39 to 15.20, P<0.001), FMA for lower extremity (WMD: 5.16, 95% CI 3.78 to 6.54, P<0.001) and activities of daily living (standardised mean difference: 1.37, 95% CI 0.79 to 1.96, P<0.001). However, there was no difference between EA and non-EA groups in terms of the effective rate (relative risk: 1.13, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.27, P=0.050). Moreover, there were not any reports of side effects due to EA combined with RT and/or CD in the included trials.
This review provides new evidence for the effectiveness and safety of EA combined with RT and/or CD for PSMD. However, the results should be interpreted cautiously because of methodological weakness and publication bias. Further clinical trials with a rigorous design and large sample sizes are warranted.