Background: Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a noninvasive treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD) that has been used successfully in patients not responding to medical and/or surgical therapy.
Hypothesis: The study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of EECP on long-term prognosis in such patients.
Methods: Major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) were tracked in 33 patients with CAD treated with EECP. Patients were subgrouped based on whether or not they demonstrated an early improvement in radionuclide stress perfusion imaging (Responders vs. Nonresponders) and followed for MACE over a mean follow-up of 5 years. Patient population characteristics included 73% with multivessel disease; 45% with prior myocardial infarction(s); and 61% who had undergone either coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), or both.
Results: There were 26 of 33 (79%) Responders, and 7 of 33 (21%) Nonresponders. Subsequent MACE over the 5-year follow-up included four deaths and eight patients with cardiovascular events [acute myocardial infarct (4), new CABG or PTCA (6), valve replacement (1), unstable angina (1)]. Nonresponders had significantly (p < 0.01) more MACE (6/7 or 86%) than Responders (6/26 or 23%). Overall, 21 of the 33 (64%) patients remained alive and without MACE and the need for revascularization 5 years post EECP treatment.
Conclusion: This study suggests that, particularly for the majority of patients demonstrating improvement in radionuclide stress perfusion post treatment, EECP may be an effective long-term therapy.