Acupuncture decreased the risk of coronary heart disease in patients with osteoarthritis


Acupuncture decreased the risk of coronary heart disease in patients with osteoarthritis


Patients with osteoarthritis (OA) are more likely to develop coronary heart disease (CHD) than the general population. Acupuncture is commonly used in OA patients; however, the therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the risk of CHD in patients with OA and the association between OA patients and their risk to develop CHD in Taiwan are unknown.

In this study from Taiwan, the researchers obtained records from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database. They identified 84,773 patients with OA, which were compared with 727,359 patients without OA diagnosis. 5046 of those who met study inclusion criteria were categorized as the OA-acupuncture cohort (n=1682).  There was also an OA non-acupuncture cohort (n = 1682), and they also included people without OA (n = 1682).  Although the main purpose of the study was to identify whether acupuncture reduces the risk of CHD, the therapeutic effects of acupuncture and medical expenditure were also analysed.



The OA non-acupuncture cohort had a 3.04 higher risk of developing CHD compared with OA-acupuncture cohort (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.54–3.63, p < 0.001).

The non-OA cohort had 1.88 higher risk of developing CHD compared with OA-acupuncture cohort (95% CI, 1.52–2.32, p < 0.001).

The OA patients treated with acupuncture had the lowest medical expenditure in a follow-up time of 6 months, and 3 and 5 years.



This is the first large-scale investigation in Taiwan that shows the association between OA and CHD and the beneficial effects of acupuncture in OA patients, and the associated risk of developing CHD. This trial’s results may provide valuable information for health policy decision making. Further randomised controlled trials are needed to confirm these observational findings.


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