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Department of Surgical Sciences, Section of Surgery, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Aim: The aim of the study was to systematically review the literature on vascular injuries caused by acupuncture.
Methods: This was a systematic literature search in Medline and PubMed.
Results: Thirty-one cases were identified and the majority developed symptoms in direct connection with the acupuncture treatment. Three patients died, two from pericardial tamponade and one from an aortoduodenal fistula. There were seven more tamponades, eight pseudoaneurysms, two with ischemia, two with venous thrombosis, one with compartment syndrome and seven with bleeding (five in the central nervous system). The two patients with ischemia had remaining sequeleae. Information on follow-up was suboptimal with no information in fourteen patients.
Conclusion: Vascular injuries are rare, bleeding and pseudoaneurysm dominating. Follow-up is insufficient in the hitherto published papers.