Medical Research

Acupuncture for Dizziness in ER, an HRV study

Kristen Sparrow • August 15, 2015

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Jun 9;15:173. doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0704-6.

Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for dizziness and vertigo in emergency department: a pilot cohort study.



Dizziness and vertigo account for roughly 4% of chief symptoms in the emergency department (ED). Pharmacological therapy is often applied for these symptoms, such as vestibular suppressants, anti-emetics and benzodiazepines. However, every medication is accompanied with unavoidable side-effects. There are several research articles providing evidence of acupuncture treating dizziness and vertigo but few studies of acupuncture as an emergent intervention in ED. We performed a pilot cohort study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in treating patients with dizziness and vertigo in ED.


A total of 60 participants, recruited in ED, were divided into acupuncture and control group. Life-threatening conditions or central nervous system disorders were excluded to ensure participants’ safety. The clinical effect of treating dizziness and vertigo was evaluated by performing statistical analyses on data collected from questionnaires of Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI), Visual Analog Scale (VAS) of dizziness and vertigo, and heart rate variability (HRV).


The variation of VAS demonstrated a significant decrease (p-value: 0.001 and p-value: 0.037) between two groups after two different durations: 30 mins and 7 days. The variation of DHI showed no significant difference after 7 days. HRV revealed a significant increase in high frequency (HF) in the acupuncture group. No adverse event was reported in this study.


Acupuncture demonstrates a significant immediate effect in reducing discomforts and VAS of both dizziness and vertigo. This study provides clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of acupuncture to treat dizziness and vertigo in the emergency department.