Researchers at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, reviewed the adverse events associated with needle acupuncture in children.

First, the details.

  • 37 reports were included.

And, the results.

  • 279 adverse events were identified.
    • 25 were serious.
      • 12 cases of thumb deformity
      • 5 infections
      • 1 case each of cardiac rupture, pneumothorax, nerve impairment, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intestinal obstruction, hemoptysis, reversible coma, and overnight hospitalization
    • 1 was moderate (infection).
    • 253 were mild.
      • Pain
      • Bruising
      • Bleeding
      • Worsening of symptoms
  • The incidence of mild adverse event was 12%.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Of the adverse events associated with pediatric needle acupuncture, a majority of them were mild in severity. Many of the serious adverse events might have been caused by substandard practice.”

Furthermore, the “results support those from adult studies, which have found that acupuncture is safe when performed by appropriately trained practitioners.”

That’s probably true of all healthcare professionals.

11/22/11 19:01 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.