OBJECTIVE To explore the maintenance effects of acupoint catgut embedding at early time on gastrointestinal function in patients with craniocerebral injury. METHODS Sixty craniocerebral injury patients with 5 to 12 points of Glasgow coma scale (GCS), according to treatment order, were alternately divided into an observation group and a control group, 30 cases in each one. Patients in the control group were treated with regular treatment and nursing care. Based on this, patients in the observation group, according to different pathogenesis and symptoms presented within 24 h into hospitalization, were additionally treated with acupoint catgut embedding. The recovery time of borborygmus, time of first anal aerofluxus, time of first defecation, abdominal pressure at different time points, the occurrence rate of complications (upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage, diarrhea, vomiting), time of enteral nutrition tolerance rate reaching 30 kcal/kg x d were observed and recorded. RESULTS The recovery time of borborygmus, time of first anal aerofluxus, time of first defecation and time of enteral nutrition tolerance rate reaching 30 kcal/kg x d in the observation group were all earlier to those in the control group (all P<0.01). At 48 h, 4 d and 7 d into hospitalization, the abdominal pressures in the observation group were all lower than those in the control group [(11.10 +/- 1.47) mmHg vs. (13.50 +/- 1.43) mmHg, (8.40 +/- 1.25) mmHg vs. (11.90 +/- 1.56) mmHg, (6.73 +/- 0.74) mmHg vs. (10.80 +/- 1.30) mmHg, all P<0.01]. There were 8 cases with complications of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, diarrhea and vomiting in the observation group with the occurrence rate o 27% (8/30), which was lower than those in the control group (70.0% (21/30), P<0.01. CONCLUSION The acupoint catgut embedding at early time in craniocerebral injury patients could improve the recovery of gastrointestinal function, reduce intolerance of enteral nutrition and occurrence rate of various complications.