Harm from acupuncture
Infections linked to acupuncture and the improper handling of needles or their reuse without adequate sterilisation included hepatitis B and C, HIV, bacterial endocarditis and staphylococcal septicaemia. These studies included overviews, epidemiological surveys and case reports.
There are apparently over 60 cases of pneumothorax caused by acupuncture reported. Other traumatic events include cardiac tamponade and punctured heart, including at least one actual death.
This refreshing little review points out that the seemingly innocuous, if done improperly or without care, can result in serious harm. The numbers of patients harmed by acupuncture in this literature review is difficult to assess, but runs into the hundreds. Choosing acupuncture because it is deemed harmless may be a poor choice.
- E Ernst, A White. Life-threatening adverse reactions after acupuncture? A systematic review. Pain 1997 71: 123-6.