Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation of PC5 and PC6 Acupoints Modulates Autonomic Balance in Heart Transplant Patients: A Pilot Study.
The increased resting heart rate (HR) in heart transplant patients is associated with enhanced metabolic demand, the potential for fatigue, and lower quality of life. In the present study, we hypothesized that transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) could modulate autonomic balance and reduce resting HR in these patients. A single-arm clinical trial was conducted with patients aged > 18 years, at ambulatorial accompaniment after heart transplantation, who were submitted to a single TEAS (40 minutes at pericardium channel acupoints PC5 and PC6). The arterial blood pressure and RR interval were recorded from 20 minutes before to 20 minutes after TEAS. The RR intervals were used to calculate HR variability (HRV) and the sympathovagal index. Linear mixed models were used for comparing variables before, during, and after TEAS. The significance level was set as P < 0.05. TEAS acutely improved HRV in transplant patients and enhanced the sympathovagal index during its application. Significant increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure were observed at recovery, such as a slight, but significant, decrease in HR. In conclusion, TEAS at PC5 and PC6 acutely modulates HRV and hemodynamics in transplant patients.