For the nine million Americans suffering from pain caused by coronary heart disease, also called stable angina, relief may be possible through acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine.
Stable angina is characterized by chest pain or discomfort that most often occurs with physical activity or emotional stress. Physiologically, it occurs due to poor blood flow through the blood vessels in the heart, causing an insufficient supply of oxygen to the muscle. Currently, nitroglycerin pills or spray are commonly used to alleviate the chest pain by relaxing the coronary arteries.
A new study led by UCLA School of Nursing researcher Dr. Holli DeVon will explore a new treatment option, acupuncture. Her research study, “Effects of Acupuncture on Symptoms of Stable Angina: A Randomized Controlled Trial (EASE study),” will test the efficacy and duration of effect of acupuncture therapy for patients suffering from stable angina.
DeVon has been awarded more than $3 million over four years by the National Institute of Nursing Research, a part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
“Our standardized technique utilizes thin needles which are inserted into the body at 12 points and manually manipulated,” DeVon explained. “Our study is innovative in that we will be testing this complementary therapy in a sample of US residents who are receiving guidelines-based therapy for angina under a Western model of care. Previous research on the efficacy of acupuncture for angina has only been published for Chinese and European patients treated under different models of care.”