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Keywords:

  • acupressure;
  • bronchiectasis;
  • health-related quality of life;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • RCT

Aims and objectives.  To examine and compare the effects of acupressure on the perceived health-related quality of life of the participants with bronchiectasis.

Background.  In an attempt to offer comfort, pain control and symptom management, nursing is becoming increasingly involved in offering complementary-alternative medicine as part of its caring-healing focus in comprehensive patient care. Acupressure is one such modality that is being increasingly used by both medical and nursing professionals. While acupressure has been reported to have beneficial effects in patients with respiratory disease, the benefits to bronchiectasis patients have remained uncertain.

Design.  A randomized, partially blinded study consisting of three groups.

Methods.  Thirty-five out-patients of both genders, aged 59·46 SD 11·52 years, who were suffering from bronchiectasis, were randomly split into one of three groups: standard care with supplemental acupressure for eight weeks (11 participants); standard care with supplemental sham acupressure for eight weeks (11 participants); and standard care alone (13 participants). Outcomes were determined by changes in daily sputum amounts, sputum self-assessment, six-minute walking distance, breathing difficulty (measured on the dyspnea visual analogue scale) and health-related quality of life (measured by the Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire).

Results.  The sputum self-assessment score improved over time for the sham acupressure participants (P = 0·03), when compared with the controls. For acupressure participants, the Saint George respiratory questionnaire activity component scores also improved over time, compared with controls (P = 0·01) after adjustment for covariates (treatment, time, age, sex and baseline values). Other variables did not differ between the standard care alone group and the other two groups.

Conclusions.  Eight weeks of self-administered acupressure could be useful in reducing the effects of bronchiectasis on a patient's daily activities.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Acupressure may be regarded as a viable nursing intervention.