IVF egg collection – acupuncture effective alternative to conventional pain relief

Pain relief during oocyte retrieval with a new short duration electro-acupuncture technique–an alternative to conventional analgesic methods.
Humaidan P, Stener-Victorin E.

The Fertility Clinic, Skive Sygehus, DK 7800 Skive, Denmark.

BACKGROUND: Acupuncture previously has proved its pain-relieving effect for ovum pick-up (OPU). The analgesic effect of electro-acupuncture (EA) was evaluated when EA was applied for only a few minutes prior to OPU in an attempt to make EA more attractive for clinical use. METHODS: Two hundred patients undergoing OPU were randomized prospectively using sealed, unlabelled envelopes, to receive pain relief with either EA in combination with a paracervical block (PCB) (n = 100) or conventional medical analgesia (CMA) in combination with a PCB (n = 100). A visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to evaluate pain and anxiety before, during and after OPU. The primary outcome measure was pain relief; secondary end-points were costs, time to discharge and clinical outcome parameters. RESULTS: There were no differences in any VAS ratings before the procedure. Directly after OPU, the EA group reported significantly higher mean and maximum pain, and ‘pain now’ than the CMA group. At 30 min after OPU and thereafter, no significant differences were found between the groups regarding abdominal pain. Time to discharge and costs were significantly lower in the EA group compared with the CMA group. No differences in clinical outcome parameters were seen. CONCLUSION: A significant difference was found between the EA and the CMA groups regarding pain during the OPU, probably due to the fact that the CMA group was pre-medicated as part of the study design. Despite a per-operative difference in pain rating, EA, given a few minutes prior to OPU, is a good alternative to CMA. The procedure is well tolerated by the patients, with a shorter hospitalization time and lower costs.

Hum Reprod. 2004 Jun;19(6):1367-72. Epub 2004 Apr 22.