Acupuncture in the emergency department for pain management: A BraveNet multi-center feasibility study

Jeffery A. Dusek, Gene A. Kallenberg, Robert M. Hughes, Alan B. Storrow, Christopher J. Coyne, David R. Vago, Arya Nielsen, Alison Karasz, Ryung S. Kim, Jessica Surdam, Tracy Segall, M. DIane McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose:Pain accounts for up to 78% of emergency department (ED) patient visits and opioids remain a primary method of treatment despite risks of addiction and adverse effects. While prior acupuncture studies are promising as an alternative opioid-sparing approach to pain reduction, successful conduct of a multi-center pilot study is needed to prepare for a future definitive randomized control trial (RCT).Methods:Acupuncture in the Emergency Department for Pain Management (ACUITY) is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The objectives are to: conduct a multi-center feasibility RCT, examine feasibility of data collection, develop/deploy a manualized acupuncture intervention and assess feasibility/implementation (barrier/facilitators) in 3 EDs affiliated with the BraveNet Practice Based Research Network.Adults presenting to a recruiting ED with acute non-emergent pain (e.g., musculoskeletal, back, pelvic, noncardiac chest, abdominal, flank or head) of ≥4 on a 0-10-point Numeric Rating Scale will be eligible. ED participants (n = 165) will be equally randomized to Acupuncture or Usual Care.At pre-, post-, and discharge time-points, patients will self-assess pain and anxiety using the Numeric Rating Scale. Pain, anxiety, post-ED opioid use and adverse events will be assessed at 1 and 4 weeks. Opioid utilization in the ED and discharge prescriptions will be extracted from patients' electronic medical records.Acupuncture recipients will asked to participate in a brief qualitative interview about 3 weeks after their discharge. ED providers and staff will also be interviewed about their general perspectives/experiences related to acupuncture in the ED and implementation of acupuncture in ACUITY.Results:Recruitment began on 5/3/21. As of 12/7/21: 84 patients have enrolled, the responsive acupuncture intervention has been developed and deployed, and 26 qualitative interviews have been conducted.Conclusion:Successful conduct of ACUITY will provide the necessary framework for conducting a future, multi-center, definitive RCT of acupuncture in the ED.Clinical

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E28961
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 4 2022


  • acupuncture
  • emergency department
  • nonpharmacologic
  • opioid
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Acupuncture in the emergency department for pain management: A BraveNet multi-center feasibility study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this