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The effect of electroacupuncture on the management of pain and articular function related to primary knee osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis

Virginia Barbeitos Cruz*, Ana Lúcia Junger, Denise Pinheiro Marques Alves dos Santos and Ana Luiza Lima Sousa

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent joint disease in the world, causing pain, rigidity, and functional limitation of adults over 45 years.
Objective: We conducted a systematic review to synthesize the results of clinical randomized studies to measure the effectiveness of electroacupuncture (EA) in the management of pain and articular dysfunction in adults with primary knee OA (KOA), Kellgren-Lawrence grades 2 and 3.
Methods: Two independent reviewers searched for interventional clinical studies on the effectiveness of EA published on PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science databases between January 2001 and January 2024. The statistical analysis focused on the effect size. Data summarization was performed through specific meta-analyses
for the outcomes of interest. For statistical analysis, R software version 4.3.2 was used. The quality of the studies was assessed according to Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) and Revised STandards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA).
Results: Three out of 7,428 articles were eligible. Meta-analysis showed no effect of EA on the attenuation of pain and joint dysfunction in KOA [2.67 standardized mean difference (SMD); -9.86; 4.52, p=0.249] and functional limitation (-2.02 SMD -6.86; 2.83 p=0.215), p<0.01. We observed compliance with STRICTA of 72.7% at 58.5%, with
moderate risk (54.5% and 63.6%) or low risk of bias (90.9%) in CASP.
Conclusion: In the meta-analysis, we identified that EA is not effective in treating pain and joint impairment in patients with primary KOA.
Trial registration: International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) CRD42023469183 (https://

Published Date: 2024-04-22; Received Date: 2024-03-25