Shanhai Renji Hospital yesterday announced the nation's first
successful heart by-pass surgery via acupuncture and a small amount
of intravenous medication as an anesthetic.
The method shortens the recovery time, limits postoperative
complications and it's also less expensive. Still, medical experts
said not all such patients are suitable for the procedure.
During the surgery on December 4, doctors put six acupuncture
needles in the chest and wrist of a 78-year-old patient with
myocardial infarction to perform electro-acupuncture as an
anesthetic. A small amount of intravenous medication was given to
maintain the effects of the anesthetic.
Generally, this type of surgery uses a big dose of anesthesia
and a respirator. With the acupuncture method, the patient doesn't
need a respirator. A laryngeal mask was used instead.
"The patient was sleeping lightly, which means the doctor can
wake the patient during surgery for communication if necessary,"
said Huang Huan, a Renji official. "Without a general anesthetic
and respirator, the patient is more relaxed during surgery. He sat
up within hours after surgery and left the intensive care unit
under his own power the next day. A traditional anesthetic could
have kept him in the ICU for two or three days."
According to experts, heart surgery with acupuncture anesthesia
is difficult and doctors need to be highly skilled to attempt the
(Shanghai Daily December 26, 2007)