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Research project: A randomised controlled trial of invasive acupuncture for the treatment of hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) - Dormant - Dormant

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The first aim of this study is to evaluate whether the use of acupuncture enhances conventional physiotherapy treatment for HVS in terms of reducing anxiety and improving hyperventilation symptoms. The second aim is to explore whether real acupuncture has any specific efficacy over placebo acupuncture, in the treatment of HVS? This study also aims to carry out an economic evaluation of this intervention.

Hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) can present with a variety of symptoms including breathlessness, chest pain, blurred vision, dizzy spells and headaches. Current treatment options to manage HVS are, physiotherapy techniques in the form of breathing exercises, or psychological treatments.

The use of complementary therapies including acupuncture, for HVS is becoming more popular. Acupuncture is commonly used by clinicians as an adjunct to physiotherapy treatments and therefore this study aims to evaluate the effects of acupuncture on the symptoms of HVS when used alongside standard physiotherapy techniques. 90 patients with hyperventilation syndrome will be randomised into one of 3 groups (standard breathing techniques, breathing techniques plus real acupuncture, or breathing techniques plus sham acupuncture). Treatments will occur over 4 weeks.

This randomised controlled trial will examine the use of acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment to standard therapy over 4 weeks (in the form of breathing retraining (BR)). 90 patients with HVS will be randomised to receive either BR and real acupuncture, BR and placebo acupuncture or BR alone. The primary outcome measure will be the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scale, as this study aims primarily to examine the effects of acupuncture, on the anxiety component of HVS. Secondary outcome measures will be symptoms of hyperventilation, perceptions of breathlessness, health status and measures of cardiorespiratory performance. This study will evaluate the efficacy of real acupuncture, in the treatment of HVS and will highlight the groups of patients with HVS, that are most likely to benefit from this adjunctive treatment. It will also assess the economic value of this intervention.

Project team

Gibson D , Bruton A , White P , Lewith G (SoM) , Mullee M (RSDU)

Project funder

Physiotherapy Research Foundation (2006-2008)


Associated research themes


Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation
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