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      Enhanced External Counterpulsation as Initial Revascularization Treatment for Angina Refractory to Medical Therapy

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          Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is effective in patients with angina refractory to medical therapy or revascularization. However, as a noninvasive treatment it should perhaps be considered the first-line treatment with invasive revascularization reserved for EECP failures or high-risk patients. The International EECP Patient Registry was used to analyze a cohort of patients with prior percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and/or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) (n = 4,454) compared with a group of patients (PUMPERS) who were candidates for PCI and/or CABG and chose EECP as their initial revascularization treatment (n = 215). The PUMPERS responded to treatment with EECP with decreased anginal episodes and nitroglycerin use and with improvement in their Canadian Cardiovascular Society functional class, similarly to previously revascularized patients. Treatment with EECP resulted in sustained, and often progressive, reduction in angina over the succeeding 6 months. Given the findings of this study, it is interesting to speculate on the possibility of using EECP as the primary revascularization intervention after medical therapy proves unsatisfactory.

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          Enhanced external counterpulsation improved myocardial perfusion and coronary flow reserve in patients with chronic stable angina; evaluation by(13)N-ammonia positron emission tomography.

          The mechanism by which enhanced external counterpulsation therapy exerts its beneficial effects on chronic and symptomatic stable angina is largely unknown. To clarify the mechanism of action of enhanced external counterpulsation, we used(13)N-ammonia positron emission tomography to evaluate myocardial perfusion. This was not a randomized controlled study. Eleven patients (eight male, age: 61.6+/-9.7) with angina pectoris underwent enhanced external counterpulsation therapy for 35 1 h sessions. They underwent a treadmill exercise test and(13)N-ammonia positron emission tomography, both at rest and with dipyridamole, before and after enhanced external counterpulsation therapy. Neurohumoral factors and nitric oxide were also evaluated. Myocardial perfusion increased at rest after therapy (0.69+/-0.27 to 0.85+/-0.47 ml x min(-1) x g(-1), P<0.05). In ischaemic regions, particularly the anterior region, myocardial perfusion at rest and with dipyridamole and coronary flow reserve improved significantly after therapy (at rest: 0.71+/-0.26 to 0.86+/-0.31;P<0.05, with dipyridamole: 1.26+/-0.65 to 1.84+/-0.94;P<0.02, coronary flow reserve: 1.75+/-0.24 to 2.08+/-0.28;P<0.04). Exercise time was prolonged and the time to 1-mm ST depression improved markedly (P<0.01). After therapy, nitric oxide levels increased (P<0.02) and neurohumoral factors decreased. Enhanced external counterpulsation therapy improved myocardial perfusion at rest and with dipyridamole and was associated with an increased exercise tolerance with(13)N-ammonia positron emission tomography and increased nitric oxide levels. These results suggest that one of the enhanced external counterpulsation mechanisms is development and recruitment of collateral vessels. Copyright 2001 The European Society of Cardiology.
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            Efficacy of enhanced external counterpulsation in the treatment of angina pectoris.

            Eighteen patients with chronic angina despite surgical and medical therapy were treated with an improved system of enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) (1 hour daily for a total of 36 hours). Patients underwent a baseline treadmill thallium-201 stress test. After EECP treatment, a thallium stress test was repeated for the same exercise duration. One week after treatment, patients also underwent a maximal stress test. All patients improved in anginal symptoms and generally decreased antianginal medications, with 16 obtaining complete relief from angina. Pre- and post-thallium stress testing performed for the same duration showed complete resolution of ischemic defects in 12 patients (67%), reduction in the area of ischemia in 2 (11%), and no change in 4 (22%). Thus, a decrease in myocardial ischemia was observed in 14 patients (78%; p less than 0.01). The exercise duration of maximal stress testing after EECP significantly improved from 8.14 +/- 0.71 to 9.72 +/- 0.77 minutes (p less than 0.005), although the double product did not change significantly. Analysis of these 2 tests in the subgroup of 14 patients with improvement in thallium studies showed significant increases in both exercise duration (8.58 +/- 0.66 to 10.44 +/- 0.59 minutes; p less than 0.001) and double product (21,827 +/- 2,044 to 24,842 +/- 1,707 mm Hg.beats/min; p less than 0.01). The improvement in reperfusion defects and increase in exercise duration are reflections of improved perfusion to ischemic regions of the myocardium. EECP uses additional thigh balloons and sequenced balloon inflation, effecting a significant increase in diastolic augmentation over previously available methods.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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              Treatment Benefit in the Enhanced External Counterpulsation Consortium

              The present study utilized a cohort of 2,289 consecutive patients enrolled in the Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) Consortium to evaluate whether results of university studies showing EECP safety and effectiveness in treating angina can be generalized. EECP was found to be safe and well tolerated with a 4.0% rate of adverse experiences. Angina class improved in 74% of patients with limiting angina (Canadian Cardiovascular Society, CCS, functional class II–IV), with patients most impaired at baseline demonstrating the greatest improvement (39.5% of patients in CCS III and IV improved 2 or more classes). Efficacy was independent of provider setting or experience, women responded as well as men, and although younger patients demonstrated a greater likelihood of improvement, EECP was effective in patients ranging from 19 to 97 years. Extending the benefit of EECP treatment to a wider range of patients may be indicated based on these findings.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                November 2003
                21 November 2003
                : 100
                : 3
                : 129-135
                aHeart Care Clinic of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark., bState University of New York, Stony Brook, N.Y., cUniversity of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., USA
                73930 Cardiology 2003;100:129–135
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 4, References: 17, Pages: 7
                General Cardiology


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