This post is an excerpt from an article originally published in 2006 by the American Journal of Cardiology. Click the link at the bottom to read the full article.
Two-year clinical outcomes after enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) therapy in patients with refractory angina pectoris and left ventricular dysfunction
Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a noninvasive circulatory assist device that has recently emerged as a treatment option for refractory angina in left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. This 2-year cohort study describes the long-term follow-up of patients who had severe LV dysfunction that was treated with EECP for angina pectoris and reports clinical outcomes, event-free survival rates, and the incidence of repeat EECP. This study included 363 patients who had refractory angina and LV ejection fraction < or =35%. Most patients reported quality of life as poor. After completion of treatment, there was a significant decrease in severity of angina class (p < 0.001), and 72% improved from severe angina to no angina or mild angina. Fifty-two percent of patients discontinued nitroglycerin use. Quality of life improved substantially. At 2 years this decrease in angina was maintained in 55% of patients. The 2-year survival rate was 83%, and the major adverse cardiovascular event-free survival rate was 70%. Forty-three percent had no reported cardiac hospitalization; 81% had no reported congestive heart failure events. Repeat EECP was performed in 20% of these patients. The only significant independent predictor of repeat EECP in a proportional hazard model was failure to complete the first EECP treatment course (hazard ratio 2.9, 95% confidence interval 1.7 to 4.9). Improvements in angina symptoms and quality of life were maintained at 2 years. In conclusion, for patients who have high-risk LV dysfunction, EECP offers an effective, durable therapeutic approach for refractory angina. Decreased angina and improvement in quality of life were maintained at 2 years, with modest repeat EECP and low major cardiovascular event rates.