Enhanced external counterpulsation, focusing on its effect on kidney function, and utilization in patients with kidney diseases: a systematic review

Asian Biomed (Res Rev News). 2023 Oct 26;17(5):208-221. doi: 10.2478/abm-2023-0062. eCollection 2023 Oct.


Background: Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is provided by a noninvasive device positively affecting cardiovascular function via mechanisms called diastolic augmentation and systolic unloading. The renal aspects of EECP therapy have not been extensively investigated.

Objectives: To assess the effect of EECP on renal function and to determine the application in patients with kidney disease.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, and Cochrane CENTRAL databases were searched for all studies involving EECP treatments. The title and abstract of all searched literatures were screened, and those focusing on renal outcome or conducting in kidney disease patients were selected.

Results: Eight studies were included in the qualitative analysis. EECP increases stroke volume, mean arterial pressure, renal artery blood flow, renal plasma flow, glomerular filtration rate (GFR), plasma atrial natriuretic peptide, urine volume, and urinary sodium chloride excretion, but reduces the plasma concentration of renin and endothelin-1 in healthy subjects. A single session of EECP after radioactive contrast exposure could provide increased contrast clearance, and this reduces contrast-induced kidney injury in patients, irrespective of previous kidney function. Thirty-five-hour sessions of EECP treatment were illustrated to increase long-term estimated GFR in patients with chronic angina and heart failure. In cirrhotic patients, EECP fails to improve GFR and renal vascular resistance. EECP device could maintain blood pressure, decrease angina symptoms, and increase cardiac perfusion in hemodialysis patients.

Conclusion: EECP treatment potentially increases renal perfusion and prevents kidney injury in several conditions. EECP possibly provides beneficial effects on hemodynamics and cardiac function in hemodialysis patients.

Keywords: cardiorenal syndrome; cardiovascular disease; contrast induced nephropathy; enhanced external counterpulsation; hemodialysis; renal function.

Publication types

  • Review