This post is an excerpt from an article originally published in 1999 by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Click the link at the bottom to read the full article.
Enhanced external counterpulsation reduces angina and extends time to exercise-induced ischemia in patients with symptomatic CAD.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess safety and efficacy of enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP).
Background: Case series have shown that EECP can improve exercise tolerance, symptoms and myocardial perfusion in stable angina pectoris.
Methods: A multicenter, prospective, randomized, blinded, controlled trial was conducted in seven university hospitals in 139 outpatients with angina, documented coronary artery disease (CAD) and positive exercise treadmill test. Patients were given 35 h of active counterpulsation (active CP) or inactive counterpulsation (inactive CP) over a four- to seven-week period. Outcome measures were exercise duration and time to > or =1-mm ST-segment depression, average daily anginal attack count and nitroglycerin usage.
Results: Exercise duration increased in both groups, but the between-group difference was not significant (p > 0.3). Time to > or =1-mm ST-segment depression increased significantly from baseline in active CP compared with inactive CP (p = 0.01). More active-CP patients saw a decrease and fewer experienced an increase in angina episodes as compared with inactive-CP patients (p < 0.05). Nitroglycerin usage decreased in active CP but did not change in the inactive-CP group. The between-group difference was not significant (p > 0.7).