Effect of Acupuncture on Blood Flow Velocity and Volume in Common Carotid and Vertebral Arteries in Migraine Patients

Medical Acupuncture
Published in Volume: 21 Issue 1: February 26, 2009  21(1): 47-54. doi:10.1089/acu.2008.0649.

Effect of Acupuncture on Blood Flow Velocity and Volume in Common Carotid and Vertebral Arteries in Migraine Patients

Kyu-Hyun Park, Hak-Jin Kim, Sun-Yong Baek, Byung-Mann Cho, and Tae-Woo Yoo.

 

ABSTRACT

Background: Acupuncture has been reported to be beneficial for both acute and chronic migraine, albeit controversies about efficacy exist. Migraine may be caused by an imbalance in blood flow; acupuncture manipulations may be able to restore the balance, thereby reducing various symptoms of migraine.

Objective: To study blood flow in extracranial arteries with a new protocol of flow quantification with fast-low angle shot after performing Korean Hand Acupuncture therapy on migraine patients.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The study included 40 healthy volunteers (20 men and 20 women, mean age 33 years), and 40 with a history of migraine headaches without aura (10 men and 30 women, mean age 38 years). The study was performed at Pusan National University Hospital (Medical Center), Pusan, Korea, from June 2004 to February 2007.

Intervention: Flow quantification with fast-low angle shot (FLASH) was performed with a 1.5-T MRI machine on participants attached with 4 gold-coated KHT (Korean Hand Therapy) acupuncture needles with tape at the 2 corresponding points (I-2 and E-8), and 2 of 8 Extraordinary points (I-38 and H-2) on both hands.

Main Outcome Measures: Blood flow and velocity in the carotid and vertebral arteries.

Results: The observed patterns were subdivided into 5 categories, according to arteries, in the migraine patients and healthy individuals. The predominant pattern in the migraine category showed decreased blood flow velocity and volume in the common carotid artery and increased blood flow and volume in the vertebral artery, which was distinctively different from flow in the healthy participants. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed P < .001 for the intervention and type of artery (carotid vs vertebral), but no significant interaction for group (KHT vs control) or side (left vs right).

Conclusions: Our data indicate that KHT can modulate extracranial blood flow through collateral circulation, which may affect the intracranial blood flow in migraine patients.

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About the Authors
Kyu-Hyun Park, MD

School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Pusan, Korea,

Hak-Jin Kim, MD

School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Pusan, Korea,

Sun-Yong Baek, MD

School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Pusan, Korea,

Byung-Mann Cho, MD

School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Pusan, Korea,

Tae-Woo Yoo, PhD

Korean Hand Therapy Institute, Seoul, Korea.

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