: Cellulitis is a complication of acupuncture, but the risk factors and annualized incidence remain unclear. Objective: This study analyzed the incidence and risk factors of cellulitis related to acupuncture in a cohort of one million participants derived from Taiwan’s Longitudinal Health Insurance Database. Methods
: We tracked this cohort between 1997 and 2012 and recorded all outpatient medical information including diagnosis and treatment. Patients were categorized according to age, gender, comorbidities, residential area, and number of acupuncture treatments. We compared the incidence and risk of cellulitis between different demographics and comorbidities by logistic regression analysis and adjusted odds ratio (aOR) with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI). Results
: We included 407,802 patients and 6,207,378 acupuncture treatments. The incidence of cellulitis after acupuncture was 64.4 per 100,000 courses of acupuncture treatment. The most common sites of cellulitis after acupuncture were the legs, feet, and face. Comorbidity was associated with post-acupuncture cellulitis; a multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that chronic kidney disease (aOR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.55–1.88), rheumatoid arthritis (aOR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.21–3.60), liver cirrhosis (aOR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.15–1.32), diabetes mellitus (aOR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.57–1.82), stroke (aOR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.31–1.58), varicose veins (aOR, 2.38; 95% CI, 2.17–2.84), or heart failure (aOR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.65–1.98) significantly increased cellulitis. Repeated exposure to acupuncture treatment was associated with an increased risk of cellulitis. Conclusions
: A variety of chronic diseases may increase the risk of cellulitis after acupuncture. Physicians asked about past medical history before acupuncture might help to reduce cellulitis.
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