Enhanced external counterpulsation in the treatment of chronic refractory angina: a long-term follow-up outcome from the International Enhanced External Counterpulsation Patient Registry

Clin Cardiol. 2008 Apr;31(4):159-64. doi: 10.1002/clc.20117.


Background: The management of patients who suffer from medically refractory angina and are unsuitable for conventional revascularization therapy is often unsatisfactory. Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a noninvasive treatment that is safe and effective immediately after a course of treatment. However, the duration of benefit is less certain.

Hypothesis: To evaluate the 3-year outcome of EECP treatment.

Methods: One thousand four hundred and twenty seven patients from 36 centers registered in the International EECP Patient Registry (IEPR)-Phase 1 was prospectively followed for a median of 37 months. Two hundred and twenty patients (15.4%) died, while 1,061 patients (74.4%) completed their follow-up.

Results: The mean age was 66+/-11 years and 72% were men. Seventy-six percent had multivessel coronary disease for 11+/-8 years. Eighty-eight percent had a prior percutaneous or surgical revascularization and 82% were unsuitable for further coronary intervention. Immediately post-EECP, the proportion of patients with severe angina (Canadian Cardiovascular Angina Classification [CCS] III/IV) were reduced from 89% to 25%, p<0.001. The CCS class was improved by at least 1 class in 78% of the patients and by at least 2 classes in 38%. This was sustained in 74% of the patients during follow-up.Thirty-six percent of the patients had CCS II or less angina, which was better than pre-EECP state without a major adverse cardiovascular event during follow-up. More severe baseline angina and a history of heart failure or diabetes were independent predictors of unfavorable outcome.

Conclusion: An EECP improves angina and quality of life immediately after a course of treatment. For most of the patients, these beneficial effects are sustained for 3 years.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angina Pectoris / physiopathology
  • Angina Pectoris / therapy*
  • Counterpulsation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life