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Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment of COPD: An Overview of Systematic Reviews

Authors Chun L, Li X, Feng Z, Xie Y, Li J

Received 3 January 2021

Accepted for publication 12 February 2021

Published 25 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 1079—1092


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Liu Chun,1 Xuanlin Li,2 Zhenzhen Feng,2 Yang Xie,3 Jiansheng Li2,3

1Longhua Hospital Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, 200030, People’s Republic of China; 2Co-Construction Collaborative Innovation Center for Chinese Medicine and Respiratory Diseases by Henan & Education Ministry of P.R. China, Henan University of Chinese Medicine, Zhengzhou, Henan, 450046, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Respiratory Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital of Henan University of Chinese Medicine, Zhengzhou, Henan, 450000, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Jiansheng Li
Henan University of Chinese Medicine, No. 156 Jinshui East Road, Zhengzhou, 450046, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86-371-65676568
Email [email protected]

Background: Since consistent evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not available, this overview aims to summarize and critically evaluate the methodological and evidence quality of systematic reviews (SRs) on this topic.
Methods: Eight electronic databases were searched to identify relevant SRs of the use of acupuncture in the treatment of COPD from inception to January 2021. Two researchers independently screened the literature, extracted the data, and cross-checked the data. The Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews 2 (AMSTAR 2) list was used to assess the methodological quality of SRs. The Grades of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to assess the quality of evidence for the outcomes of interest.
Results: Nine SRs that conducted quantitative syntheses were included in this overview. The methodological quality of the SRs and the quality of evidence for the main outcome measures were generally unsatisfactory. Only 2 SRs were rated as low methodological quality by AMSTAR 2, and the remaining SRs were rated as critically low quality. The key limitations of the SRs were lack of a protocol and registration or a list of excluded studies. We did not find high-quality evidence to confirm the effectiveness of acupuncture for COPD, and the main reason was that the qualitative data synthesis relied on trials with small sample sizes and critically low quality.
Conclusion: Acupuncture appears to be an effective therapeutic method for COPD, but the credibility of the results is limited owing to the generally low methodological quality and evidence quality of the included SRs. Further rigorous and comprehensive studies are required to provide robust evidence and draw definitive conclusions.

Keywords: acupuncture, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, overview, AMSTAR 2, GRADE, systematic review

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