The Effect of Acupressure on Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Rate Among Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: The Relationship Between Heart Rate and Fatigue plus a 1 year subscription to Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

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Objectives • Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia among rhythm disturbances causing symptoms such as dyspnea, palpitation, and fatigue. Various methods are used for control and treatment of the disease. This randomized controlled study was conducted to determine the effect of acupressure applied to patients with AF on their cardiac rhythm and heart rate, as well as relationship between heart rate and fatigue. Design • The study was conducted with 60 individuals (30 in the intervention group and 30 in the placebo group) who met the inclusion criteria of the study in cardiology service. The data in the study were collected using a questionnaire, patient observation form, and brief fatigue inventory. In the study, ethics committee approval, institutional permission, and written informed consent from individuals were obtained. Interventions • In addition to standard medical treatments, the individuals in the intervention group were applied with acupressure on their acupuncture points (PC-6, HT-7, CV-17), which were specified by using a specially developed acupressure device, twice per day (minimum 2 and maximum 4 sessions). The individuals in the placebo group were attached to the acupressure device in addition to their standard medical treatments, but the pressure was not applied. All the patients were connected to holter, their pulse and blood pressure were monitored and followed up by being before, during, and after the acupressure. The value of P < .05 was accepted as significant in comparisons. Results • After the acupressure administration, heart rate and systolic/diastolic blood pressures of the individuals in the intervention group decreased (P < .05), whereas only diastolic blood pressure of the individuals in the placebo group decreased at the first administration (P < .05), and the decrease in systolic blood pressure and heart rate was not significant (P < .05). In all patients in sample group, rhythm was not sinus and acupressure did not have a different effect on fatigue. Conclusion • As a result of the study, it was determined that the acupressure decreased heart rate in patients with AF, it was effective in decreasing systolic and diastolic blood pressure at repeated administrations, and this decrease was not effective in reducing fatigue. According to these results, it could be recommended to perform the repeated acupressure administration along with pharmacological treatment for reducing heart rate and blood pressure in AF.