Wiener klinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 131, Issue 9–10, pp 221–232 | Cite as

Acupuncture is effective in improving functional communication in post-stroke aphasia

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
  • Binlong Zhang
  • Yi Han
  • Xing Huang
  • Zhaolan Liu
  • Shuren Li
  • Jingling ChangEmail author
  • Ying GaoEmail author
review article



In this meta-analysis the authors evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in improving functional communication and language function in post-stroke aphasia (PSA) patients.


Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, AMED, SinoMed, CNKI, VIP, and Wanfang databases, ICTRP, ISRCTN, EUCTR,, and Stroke Trials Registries. A search was carried out for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effects of acupuncture compared with no treatment or placebo acupuncture on post-stroke aphasia (PSA). The searched records were independently screened by two authors, who extracted the data, and assessed risk of bias of the included RCTs. Data aggregation and risk of bias evaluation were conducted on Review Manager Version 5.3. The protocol was registered in the PROSPERO database (CRD42016037543).


A total of 28 RCTs involving 1747 patients (883 patients in the treatment group and 864 patients in the control group) were included in the quantitative synthesis. The results demonstrated significant effects of acupuncture in improving PSA functional communication (P < 0.00001, standardized mean difference (SMD) = 1.01 [0.81, 1.20]), severity of impairment (P < 0.0001, SMD = 0.64 [0.45, 0.84]), spontaneous speech (P = 0.0002, SMD = 1.51 [0.71, 2.32]), auditory comprehension (P < 0.0001, SMD = 0.84 [0.43, 1.26]), repetition (P < 0.00001, SMD = 1.13 [0.75, 1.52]), naming (P = 0.03, SMD = 0.65 [0.08, 1.23]), reading (P < 0.0001, SMD = 1.56 [0.83, 2.29]), and writing (P = 0.009, SMD = 1.03 [0.25, 1.80]).


Acupuncture seems to be effective in improving PSA functional communication and language function.


Alternative medicine Language impairment Rehabilitation Systematic review Meta-analysis 



We would like to thank Professor Jian Kong for his great help in improving this manuscript.


This project was supported by the Special Public Welfare Industry and Scientific Research from State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (project No. 201407001-9) and the National Science Foundation of China (project No. 81473654).

Conflict of interest

B. Zhang, Y. Han, X. Huang, Z. Liu, S. Li, J. Chang and Y. Gao declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Dongzhimen HospitalBeijing University of Chinese MedicineBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Encephalopathy Treatment of Chinese MedicineState Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the Peoples Republic of ChinaBeijingChina
  3. 3.Center for Evidence-Based Chinese MedicineBeijing University of Chinese MedicineBeijingChina
  4. 4.Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided TherapyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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