Mechanisms and evidence for the role of enhanced external counterpulsation in heart failure management

Curr Heart Fail Rep. 2006 Apr;3(1):25-32. doi: 10.1007/s11897-006-0028-4.


Balloon counterpulsation has gained widespread acceptance as a therapy for cardiogenic shock. However, over the past four decades a parallel method of noninvasive counterpulsation, enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP), has been defined and developed. Mechanisms of benefit for this technology continue to emerge and include enhanced coronary and other key target organ perfusion beds. Other mechanisms include angiogenesis and enhanced cellular metabolism. Beyond putative mechanisms there is ample evidence for improved and sustained outcomes in patients with and without left ventricular dysfunction. This evidence comes from long-term registry reports and randomized clinical trials. With respect to heart failure (HF), there is registry, pilot trial, and randomized clinical trial evidence of safety and efficacy. This paper summarizes some of the mechanisms and outcomes of EECP in HF patients and helps to elucidate the role of EECP in the management of patients with chronic HF.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Counterpulsation / methods*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / therapy