The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

A pilot project to assess the methodological issues involved in evaluating acupuncture as a treatment for disabling breathlessness

Davis, Carol L., Lewith, George T., Broomfield, Jackie and Prescott, Philip (2001) A pilot project to assess the methodological issues involved in evaluating acupuncture as a treatment for disabling breathlessness Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 7, (6), pp. 633-639. (doi:10.1089/10755530152755180).

Record type: Article


Objectives: this pilot study explores the methodological implications of evaluating the use of acupuncture in the treatment of disabling breathlessness.

Design: a randomized, controlled trial involving three treatments that were used on one occasion, each in random order.

Settings: the study was designed to evaluate the feasibility of providing acupuncture treatment on a domiciliary basis, in Southampton (United Kingdom) to patients with disabling breathlessness.

Subjects: sixteen (16) subjects with disabling breathlessness caused by chronic lung disease (primarily chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]) were recruited from the respiratory medicine clinics of Southampton University Hospitals Trust.

Interventions: the treatments were real acupuncture, dummy acupuncture, and mock trans-electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

Outcomes: to evaluate the respiratory outcome measures, to look at the credibility of the three treatments (using a previously validated Borkovec and Nau scale), and to calculate the sample size for a larger, more definitive study.

Results: twelve (12) subjects completed the study. The acupuncture was a predefined point prescription that had been found previously to be of value in this condition, an approach that could be taught to health professionals and provided on a domiciliary basis. The treatment was provided only on one occasion, therefore, we did not expect a clear therapeutic benefit to emerge, but some nonsignificant benefit was noted as a consequence of acupuncture treatment. The shuttle test that we used as an objective measure of breathlessness was impractical in a domiciliary environment and will not be used in further studies. Each of the three treatments was equally credible at the outset, although real and dummy acupuncture were considered by the patients to be preferable choices after the completion of treatment.

Conclusions: it was possible to carry out this study on a domiciliary basis. The information obtained will allow us to design a much clearer definitive study and the small, but statistically insignificant, response to acupuncture has allowed us to estimate sample size.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: December 2001
Organisations: Statistics


Local EPrints ID: 29987
ISSN: 1075-5535
PURE UUID: 5d8ee5e0-8c52-4630-9f54-edc5d8ed2bc6

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 May 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:56

Export record



Author: Carol L. Davis
Author: George T. Lewith
Author: Jackie Broomfield
Author: Philip Prescott

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.