Auricular acupuncture as an adjunct for pain management during first trimester suction aspiration: A feasibility study
Awarded 2015
Small Research Grants
Antoinette Danvers, MD, MSCR
Columbia University

Objective: The objectives of this study are to examine the feasibility and acceptability of using auricular acupuncture as an adjunct to pain management during suction aspiration. Study Design: We approached women seeking first trimester uterine evacuation prior to 13 weeks gestational age, either an elective abortion or secondary to an abnormal pregnancy for enrollment in the study. All participants enrolled during the first two sessions received auricular acupuncture following a modified battlefield acupuncture (BFA) protocol performed by a licensed acupuncturist with family planning attending was present as an active learner. Over the subsequent four sessions, both a licensed acupuncturist and trained provider performed the acupuncture procedure. Participants completed a pre and post-procedure pain assessment using a visual analog scale (VAS). Results: Forty participants enrolled in the study, 8 declined participation and 37 underwent acupuncture followed by usual care. We had one dropout prior to enrollment and three of the enrolled participants did not undergo any procedures. Among the 37 participants who had auricular acupuncture, the mean post-operative VAS score was 50mm and the mean change in VAS was 37mm. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates acupuncture is an acceptable adjunct to pain management among patients seeking abortion. A modified BFA protocol for gynecology could be used as an adjunct to paracervical block for pain management during suction aspiration but its use for prevention of pain needs to be studied.