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Editor's Correspondence
July 12, 2004

Infective Endocarditis, Cardiac Tamponade, and AIDS as Serious Complications of Acupuncture

Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(13):No Pagination Specified. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.13.1464

I enjoyed reading the excellent article on adverse effects of acupuncture by Melchart et al.1 To make their list more complete, I would like to mention 3 more serious complications of acupuncture: infective endocarditis,2-4 cardiac tamponade,5 and AIDS.6 The last is of special importance. A large number of patients with AIDS have now turned to alternative therapies, including acupuncture.6 Accordingly, this means of transmission may become increasingly important not only to thousands of patients receiving acupuncture treatments for various other ailments, but also to the acupuncturists themselves through needlestick accidents.