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J Acupunct Res > Volume 38(1); 2021 > Article
Published online February 22, 2021.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13045/jar.2020.00458   
Acupuncture for Symptomatic Rotator Cuff Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Seoyoung Choi1  , Jisun Lee1  , Seunghoon Lee2  , Gi Young Yang1,3  , Kun Hyung Kim1,3 
1Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Medicine, Pusan National University Korean Medicine Hospital, Yangsan, Korea
2Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea
3Division of Clinical Medicine, School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan, Korea
*Corresponding author.
Kun Hyung Kim
Email: pdchrist@gmail.com
Received: November 30, 2020   Revised: December 30, 2020   Accepted: January 13, 2021
The objective was to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for patients with rotator cuff diseases.
There were 12 electronic databases and 3 trial registries searched up to November 30th, 2019. All randomized trials were eligible, regardless of language, date of publication, or settings. The primary outcomes were pain, shoulder function, and proportion of improved participants assessed within 12 weeks of randomization of the trial. The Cochrane risk of bias for the studies was assessed. Effects sizes were presented as a risk ratio, mean difference, or standardized mean difference with a 95% confidence intervals. Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach was adopted to rate certainty of evidence.
Of the 3,686 records screened, 28 randomized trials (2,216 participants) were included in this review. The types of acupuncture included manual acupuncture, dry needling, electroacupuncture, acupotomy, warm needle acupuncture, and fire needle acupuncture. All of the studies had an unclear or high risk of bias related to more than 1 domain. Significant benefits of acupuncture in terms of pain and shoulder function were observed in all comparisons, however, the proportion of improved participants was not described in 2 comparisons. There was substantial heterogeneity among meta-analyzed trials. No serious harm was observed. For primary outcomes, the overall certainty of evidence was very low.
There was very low certainty of evidence for the benefits of acupuncture for patients with rotator cuff diseases. The safety of acupuncture remains unclear due to the incompleteness of reporting. Future welldesigned randomized trials with transparent reporting are required.
Keywords: acupuncture, rotator cuff injuries, rotator cuff tear arthropathy, shoulder impingement syndrome

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