Table 1: Characteristics of the included studies.

Included
trials
Eligibility
criteria1
Study
designs
Gender (male/female); 
age (years)
Course of disease Interventions ( ) 
Drug/dosage
Course of
treatment
OutcomesIntergroup
differences
TrialControlTrialControl

Tang and Sun 1996 [22]CMADS in 1986RCT (30 : 33), Average of 64.241/22;<7 dSA#WCM##15 d(1) clinical efficacy
(2) Limb power recovery
(3) Level of rehabilitation
(4) SOD, MDA, PGI2, TAX2
(5) SEP
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)

Yu et al. 2004 [23]CMADS in 1995RCT19/11; 45–74 18/12; 46–74<7 dSA#WCM##10 d (1) NDS
(2) ADL (BI)
(3) Blood MDA content
(1)
(2)
(3)

Wei et al. 2005 [24]CMADS in 1995RCT20/16; Average of 59.4422/14; Average of 62.26Average of 5.1 dSA#WCM##8 w(1) clinical efficacy
(2) NDS
(3) ADL (FIM)
(4) SIAS score
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)

Xu et al. 2007 [25]CMADS
in 1995
RCT33/28;
Average of 62.33
29/32;
Average of 59.83
6 h–3 dSA#
WCM##14 d(1) clinical efficacy
(2) NDS
(1)
(2)

Chen and Jing 2008 [26]CMADS
in 1995
RCT
(statistical software)
18/14;
14/16;
<7 dSA#WCM##2 w(1) clinical efficacy
(2) Kubota's water drinking test
(1)
(2)

Yu et al. 2010 [27]CMADS
in 1995
RCT (random number form) (20 : 20), 45–75 y26/14;<7 dSA# WCM##10 d(1) NDS
(2) TCM symptom accumulated points
(3) SOD activity
(4) MDA content
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)

Zhang et al. 2011b* [28] CMADS
in 1995
RCTA group: 14/9;
59.8 ± 7.1
12/11;
58.0 ± 6.8
24 hSA#WCM##30 d(1) NDS
(2) VEGF (test at 10th d)
(1)
(2)

Zhang et al. 2011a* [28] B group: 13/10; 56.5 ± 6.5WCM ##(1)
(2)

Zhu and Huang 2011 [29]CMADS
in 1995
RCT9/11;
59.07 ± 11.49
14/6; 56.03 ± 8.70<7 dSA#WCM##30 d(1) NDS
(2) Ca2+ content in serum
(1)
(2)

ADL: Activity of Daily Living Scale; BI: Bathel Index; CMADS: Chinese Medical Association Diagnosis Standard; d: day(s); FIM: Functional Independence Measure; h: hour(s); FMA: Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment; m: months; MDA: Malondialdehyde; NDS: neurological deficit score; PGI2: prostacyclin; RCT: randomized controlled trial; SA: scalp acupuncture; SEP: Somatosensory Evoked Potentials; SIAS: Stroke Impairment Assessment Set; SOD: Superoxide Dismutase; TAX2: thromboxane A2; TCM: Traditional Chinese Medicine; VEGF: Vascular endothelial growth factor; w: week(s); WCM: western conventional medication; #: the same as the control group. WCM## refer to the combination of needed therapies of the following aspects: (1) general supportive care mainly includes (A) airway, ventilatory support and supplemental oxygen, (B) cardiac monitoring and treatment, (C) temperature, (D) blood pressure, (E) blood sugar, and (F) nutrition; (2) specialized care mainly include a variety of measures to improve cerebral blood circulation (such as antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants, fibrinogen-depleting agents, volume expansion, and vasodilators, except thrombolytic agents) and neuroprotective agents; (3) treatment of acute complications mainly includes (A) brain edema and elevated intracranial pressure, (B) seizures, (C) dysphagia, (D) pneumonia, (E)voiding dysfunction and urinary tract infections, and (F) deep vein thrombosis. *A group: bilateral scalp penetration needling; B group: ipsilateral (disease-side) scalp penetration needling.